As founder and chairman of Legacy Trust Family Wealth Offices, Kristin McLauchlan focuses on helping families build and secure their financial futures through trust and estate tax strategies, family foundations and overall family wealth planning.
What type of services does Legacy Trust provide?
Our clients will tell you that the biggest service we provide is peace of mind and simplification. In very simple terms, a we provide personal financial management for families, covering the landscape of services and advice that otherwise would be handled by multiple companies or people. So we integrate tax strategies, estate planning, wealth management, trustee services and investment management, and we provide consolidated performance monitoring and reporting. We’re structured to provide sophisticated investment management services. Legacy clients have access to carefully screened top-tier money managers that were previously only available through boutique investment firms. We take our fiduciary responsibility to our families very seriously. But we also handle the soft side of our client’s financial lives. For example, we hold family meetings to ensure the next generation understands the family plans and their responsibilities. We pay our clients’ bills if asked. We’ll find them tickets to hard-to-get events. We’ll negotiate their plane lease or insurance. There really isn’t anything we don’t do for our clients. We’re very much a financial concierge in that respect.
What prompted you to found Legacy Trust?
I had been at several larger banks and in all honesty, I wasn’t really happy with the services we provided. My parents were also clients of a bank that was trying to handle family wealth, and they weren’t happy. Big institutions really don’t do what, by definition, a Family Office does. So I pulled together some partners in 2002 with the goal of starting a client-friendly firm that would provide comprehensive oversight for each client’s financial situation, aligned with their unique needs. Services would be delivered objectively and transparently, and the needs of the client would be paramount. It’s a different way of looking at the financial world than a bank or big institution can provide.
What is a “family office?”
Sometimes it’s almost easier to say what we’re not than it is to describe what we are. We are not a bank or an investment company or a brokerage. We are in our simplest terms the quarterbacks of a family’s financial game plan. We oversee and manage all the parts to make sure everyone is rowing in the right direction and at the same time. Family wealth is a complex landscape. We’re looking out not only for today’s short-term strategy, but also for the protection and growth of assets for generations to come. Regardless of the source of assets or the unique circumstances that characterize every family, most wealthy families do share a common desire: to ensure that their wealth has a positive impact on the lives of family members today and in future generations
What are the benefits of working with a company such as Legacy Trust?
A family office has to deliver value and to ur clients that transcends investment performance. A family office is typically employed to manage the many moving parts of its clients’ financial life. In our case, where we deliver is by working with the team our clients probably already have in place: the banker, the broker, the lawyer, the insurance agent, the CPA. Our job is to keep the machine running smoothly. Do we get graded on the recommendations we make on investments and allocation? Of course, but our clients take a long-term approach and realize we don’t create the ups and downs in the market. We help navigate them, we help grow the portfolio, we help guide the vision and we manage the day to day.
Legacy Trust is very active in the community. What are some of the charitable activities your company sponsors and supports?
At the heart of what we do is our sense of community. We try to take a leadership role and be active in the nonprofit side of the North Florida market because it’s who we are, to a degree it’s what we expect of our clients, and mostly because it’s important. Many things we do go under the radar, but the ones people notice are events like the Web.com Tour Championship, which we’ve supported at a high level since it was the Winn-Dixie Open five years ago, and the Ponte Vedra Cultural Center’s Home & Art Show Tour, which we’ve underwritten for five years as well. This year with the Web.com event moving to Atlantic Beach, we probably could have opted out, but we wanted to continue supporting it. In fact, we even grew our support by adding events within the event like the NFJG Junior Shootout, Fashion on the Fairway – an event we created to support Ronald McDonald House – and sponsoring a hole-in-one contest over the weekend where a player can win $25,000. We support and take a leadership role with organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Gabriel House of Care and K9s for Warriors. You can even see us at the local high school level by making a 10-year commitment to the Ponte Vedra High School sports facilities improvement campaign. If part of our client DNA is being philanthropic, then we want to be the first to set the example.