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Tackle these questions now to help your family later

February 09, 2010

Talking with loved ones about how you want your finances handled in the years to come probably sounds like about as much fun as doing taxes. Such conversations can be difficult, but if you put your head in the sand and simply hope for the best, you may leave your family in jeopardy.

Asking yourself the following questions will help you think through your situation. The answers you come up with can give you the confidence of knowing you've taken some major financial steps for you and your family.

Who will manage my accounts when I'm no longer able or when I'm gone?

You may already have outlined how you want your assets managed and perhaps even established a trust, but the real responsibility rests upon those you ask to carry out the associated tasks. Do family members or friends have the inclination or ability for such a commitment? Would a professional financial advisor or corporate trustee that likely has more objectivity and expertise be a wiser choice? Now's a good time to decide.

How do I want my assets to be divided?

If you want them distributed according to your intent, estate planning should be on your agenda. A good plan can provide support and financial stability for your surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren; preserve your wealth for future generations; and ensure that your wishes will be carried out. The process can be complex, so you'll need to consult an experienced estate planner or an attorney, but you can get a head start by taking an inventory of your assets and deciding on your beneficiaries.

It's a lot to think about, right? While having a will and establishing a trust is a good start, it's not always enough. But expert help is available.

Vanguard Asset Management Services' financial professionals can provide ongoing, personalized investment advice for almost any financial concern. They'll keep your portfolio on track, provide estate-planning consultations, manage trust investments, or even serve as your trustee. With our investment advisory services, you'll have the individual attention you want from a partner you can trust at costs that are among the lowest in the industry.

Get more details about how our financial experts can help you plan for the future.


  • The annual service fee, payable quarterly, is based on the market value of assets under management at the end of each quarter. A minimum of $500,000 is necessary to establish a relationship, and the minimum annual fee is $4,500. The annual fee includes the cost of brokerage commissions and other security transaction expenses incurred in the account. A different fee schedule applies to qualified plans and relationships with $10 million or more. There is an additional fee for trust services/fiduciary accounts.
  • Vanguard Asset Management Services™ are provided by Vanguard National Trust Company, which is a federally chartered, limited-purpose trust company operated under the supervision of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
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