Help Clients Manage Complexity

Our cutting-edge research on complex planning techniques, along with state-of-the-art modeling tools, help bring choices to life.

Featured Research

Donating closely held business interests can be incredibly complex, but the chance to give back can be irresistible. Entrepreneurs who have pulled it off explain why you need to plan well in advance of a sale.  

Investors can grow wealth and avoid as much tax as possible by adopting an “after-tax” returns perspective. That means measuring what you keep or spend after taxes—not just annually, but over an investment’s entire lifecycle. 

Bernstein can add significant value during the pre-IPO stage, but planning doesn’t end at the IPO. No matter where your company stands in the IPO lifecycle, our tailored planning and advice can help you maximize the opportunity to create wealth.

Entering the market isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Wary investors may find it more palatable to slowly dip their toes in the water using dollar-cost averaging, particularly during volatile or declining markets. In this white paper, our research examines the benefits and potential costs of a staged market entry.


Many investors turn to passive ETFs or mutual funds for consistent delivery of low-cost, market-like returns. In addition, these strategies tend to be tax efficient, deferring the realization of most (or all) capital gains until an investor sells. Yet taxable investors who go this route end up leaving after-tax returns on the table.


How do the rule changes for required minimum distributions impact your client’s estate plan? In this white paper, we detail the implications of the 10-year distribution rule of the SECURE Act legislation on estates, focusing on the tax implications for retirement accounts and Roth IRA conversions.


The rare convergence of lower income this year, negative returns in many sectors, and charitable-giving tax breaks creates an opportunity to grow future wealth for your clients. In this white paper, we quantify the benefits of converting a traditional retirement account to a Roth under various tax situations. Does your client expect to be in a lower tax bracket than usual this year or will they be subject to higher tax rates in the future? If so, a window of opportunity is open.​


More Insights

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Improving Wealth Transfer Outcomes with Alternative Investments

Did you know there’s a hidden bonus to alternative investments? They’re an excellent source of wealth transfer opportunities.

Close up of doctor using cell phone at desk

Selling a Medical Practice: Improving Outcomes for Practice Owners

Selling a medical practice is not always the best route, and for some it’s not an option at all. Is it right for your client?  

Multigeneration family from behind walking over leaves in the fall.

Ties That Bind: How Sound Governance Supports Family Success

How does your family make decisions about wealth? A common thread among families that successfully deploy their wealth to reinforce a shared purpose and vision—strong governance. 

The current market has brought both historically low interest rates and higher stock volatility. For fiduciaries, this environment presents several challenges: how do you invest assets to generate the income that current beneficiaries need and ensure that trust assets will last for the beneficiary’s lifetime? What are some tax management strategies to increase the impact of the trust? This research illustrates various ways fiduciaries can fulfill their fiduciary duties and better meet beneficiary needs in today’s environment.


Building a strong culture begins with knowing your values—because one thing we’ve learned is that successful families weave their values into their daily lives. Values subtly influence our decisions and guide our actions. But most of us haven’t actively articulated our ideals since it can be difficult to express something that’s such an integral part of ourselves.


The pandemic has spurred many family offices to revisit their philanthropic strategies. In this research article published in Trusts & Estates magazine, our research team reveals the five key themes that have emerged from recent discussions with large family foundations and family offices with long-standing charitable track records. The article explores families’ top concerns, multigenerational dynamics, and the creative strategies being employed during this time of upheaval.​


At the Forefront

We regularly publish blogs covering complex planning issues that are at the forefront of our clients’ minds. Whether your practice focuses on business owners, corporate executives, UHNW families, or cross-border investors, we’ll help you keep abreast of evolving techniques. 

Businesswoman working in modern open office

Business owners who want to make long-term philanthropic contributions have a number of options. Their philanthropic goals and the assets they want to give are two key factors to consider. In a recent Trusts & Estates article, we compare the federal tax benefits of gifting shares of closely held companies to the business owner’s private foundation (PF) or to public charities through supporting organizations (SO), in accordance with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.


The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recognized the vital role nonprofits play. To ensure they can continue to provide critical assistance to their communities, the bill relaxed some of the limitations on charitable income tax deductions for individuals and corporations—a welcome relief for organizations starved for funds.


We challenge the reflexive decision to avoid a FNGT when US beneficiaries are involved. In certain cases, creating a FNGT for a US beneficiary or keeping a FNGT offshore and deliberately accumulating its income—even if all beneficiaries are US taxpayers—may prove advantageous. But under what circumstances? Time horizon proves to be the key determinant of whether the approach pays off.


From Bernstein’s Global Families Institute, who STEP named Financial Advisor Team of the Year, comes research suggesting tax-efficient ways to tap offshore wealth. Ultimately, they conclude that compounded tax savings combined with active gain harvesting can overcome key hurdles.


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