M. Todd Smith
Chair of Quarles & Brady’s local Estate, Trust & Wealth Preservation Practice Group
Background: Smith focuses his practice on estate planning, probate and trust administration, and business organizations. He works for high-net worth clients, but he enjoys assisting individuals and families with estate planning needs, regardless of size or complexity. He also assists clients through the burdens that complicate the difficult time after the death of a loved one, including helping out-of-state residents navigate Arizona’s probate process. Smith has extensive experience advising business owners and preparing buy-sell agreements for business succession planning and advising clients with substantial wealth in forming business entities like Limited Liability Companies and Family Limited Partnerships for asset protection and estate planning purposes.
A trend to watch: “I am closely watching generational wealth transfers. I am sure 2018 will break records in this regard, and the challenge for wealth managers will be to provide the technology and the style of service that the next generation expects, which will obviously be different than those of the previous generation.”
Advice for 2018: “After nearly a decade of back and forth between the financial industry and consumer advocates, earlier this year, the Department of Labor rolled out the first phase of the so-called fiduciary rule, which requires financial advisors to act in your best interests. My advice would be to take advantage of the environment that is being created by new fiduciary regulations regarding the transparency of management fees. Ask questions about how your wealth managers are getting paid, and expect to get answers explained in a way that you understand.”