Tax Planning a Top Concern for Ultra-High-Net-Worth Investors During Election Year, According to Tiedemann Advisors Survey

Survey Explores Trends and Challenges Facing Estate Planning Industry Including the Rise of the Single-Family Office

NEW YORK--()--More than half (51%) of trust and estate planning professionals say tax uncertainty is top-of-mind for their ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients during the 2020 election cycle, according to a recent survey conducted by Tiedemann Advisors, one of the largest independent U.S. investment and wealth advisors, at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning Conference in Orlando, Florida.1

High asset valuations (22%) and political conflicts (13%) were among the other biggest concerns from respondents. In general, nearly 80% said their clients were at least somewhat worried about safeguarding their estates during the election year.

“Preparing robust and thorough estate plans that protect assets against future tax law changes and political outcomes is vital in the early stages of an election cycle,” said Jim Bertles, Managing Director at Tiedemann Advisors and head of the firm’s Palm Beach office. “Regardless of election results, the reality of the growing budget deficit is that tax revenues will need to increase, so we encourage clients to implement tax planning strategies sooner rather than later to mitigate any potential negative effects on their estates.”

Shift Back Toward Single-Family Offices

Heckerling Institute of Estate Planning’s annual conference is the largest and most highly regarded estate planning conference in the U.S., typically attracting over 3,000 attendees.

Given the reported increase in client concerns anticipated from the pending election, it was unsurprising to see trust and estate planning professionals who attended the conference claim they’ve seen a rise in single-family offices. Over half of the trust and estate planning professionals surveyed (57%) reported an increase in the number of single-family offices being formed in recent years. And almost one third (31%) attributed the single-family office trend to the wide range of services that these structures provide to meet the specific needs of an UHNW family.

Other reasons for growth in the family office sector include:

  • Nearly a quarter (23%) cited UHNW families seeking more control over their future
  • Twelve percent said that UHNW families are increasingly seeking services that traditional wealth management firms and private banks don’t offer
  • Eight percent believe that UHNW families want a family office to operate as a cost center for the extended family and to provide ancillary services such as employee management

Growing Interest in Sustainable Investing

As it relates to the growing role of socially-responsible or impact investing, the survey found that more than three quarters (78%) of trust and estate planning professionals believe their clients are interested in incorporating impact and sustainable investing as part of their overall wealth plans. Within that group, 57% reported that clients are “very” interested, against just 12% who don’t have any desire.

“It’s not a surprise or coincidence that estate planning professionals are seeing increasing interest in impact investing just as more families are passing their wealth to millennials or including them in the estate planning process,” said Steve Aucamp, Managing Director at Tiedemann Advisors and head of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. “Impact investing should be a customized journey that a strategic advisor can map out into individual steps that ensure a family’s investments are in line with their values and achieve a positive, measurable societal impact.”

Survey Methodology

Tiedemann Advisors conducted the survey among trust and estate planning professionals at the 54th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning conference in Orlando, Florida. The total sample includes 150 survey respondents who attended the conference, including wealth management professionals, attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law specialists, educators, and non-profit advisors. The survey was fielded on January 13 and 14, 2020.

About Tiedemann Advisors

Tiedemann Advisors is an independent investment and wealth advisor for high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts, foundations and endowments. Founded in 1999, Tiedemann has nine offices across the U.S. and provides trust services through Tiedemann Trust Company, a state-chartered trust company located in Wilmington, Delaware. Together, Tiedemann oversees approximately $21 billion in assets under advisement with over $2.4 billion in impact investments.

Tiedemann Advisors is an investment advisor. Investors should consult with their financial, tax and legal advisors before investing in any investments or trust arrangements. The information is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, investment, tax, accounting, legal or financial advice and is not a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy, an interest in any security, including an interest in any investment vehicle managed or advised by Tiedemann or its affiliates. For more information go to


1 All statistics sourced from the Prosek/Tiedemann proprietary survey, conducted on 1/13 and 1/14, 2020 at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning conference


Prosek Partners
Emma Stanton


Prosek Partners
Emma Stanton