Complimentary Financial Services to Members

Chartwell Capital Advisors
Providing Legal and Financial Services to Individuals and Businesses

Hello AIA Virginia members:

This year of new beginnings, we are very grateful for all the wonderful blessings that our Creator has bestowed upon us. We appreciate all of our clients who have put their trust into our abilities.

Like you, we work hard to serve others and to build wealth, such that we can take care of our families and use our resources to make a difference in the world, even after we are gone.

In this email to AIA Virginia members, we are offering all members a complimentary estate plan review as well as a complimentary life insurance appraisal.

This video gives you a good idea of how we work with clients and why having a proper estate plan is a good idea. In short, proper estate planning almost always saves you money, often LOTS of money; and you will sleep sounder knowing your affairs are in good order.

This video gives you a good idea of why you should have us review your life insurance policies. Today, policies can be used for retirement, long-term care, and death benefits. We often find ways to improve your condition at little extra costs.

We are here to help you with whatever needs you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask a question.

View the AIA Virginia Benefits Package

Rob Smith
Chartwell Capital Advisors
Robert C. Smith, PLC
The Branch House
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 357-5977

Thanks a Million!

The “selfie” video above is VERY low production costs, but the content can literally save you a million dollars. In addition to all the other work we do, we appraise existing life insurance policies. As in the example in the video, a client was counting on $1 million flowing into a trust we created from an existing life insurance carrier. The problem was the carrier is no longer in the life insurance business, its financials have degraded and the policy was likely going to expire long before the client died. We took the cash value of the policy, got him a new policy with a strong carrier with better investment returns and put a long term care rider on the policy. Had we not done this work, the $ 1 million dollars he was expecting likely would not have happened.

Reviewing and analyzing life insurance is often akin to finding buried treasure in the backyard. It costs you nothing, but the extra money “found” can be a pot of gold for your family. All existing life insurance policies should be appraised. We do this a complementary service for all AIA Virginia members.

On another note, we recently procured a professional liability insurance policy for an AIA Virginia member firm. We were told by this firm that they had priced this product out for many years, and our price and terms were the best they had ever seen. If you want us to review your existing professional liability insurance, give us a call or email us.

Finally on the legal front.

Modernizing an Outdated Estate Plan

What to do with a Confusing, Old Trust
Estate plans evolve. Or at least they should. Any plan that fails to achieve your goals and doesn’t match your current financial and family circumstances is out of date and is in need of an overhaul. We can help you revitalize the obsolete aspects of your plan and get you back on track for the future.

How to know if you have an outdated trust
If you or anyone you know signed a will or trust in 2012 or before, an immediate review should be on your to-do list. There have been many legal and policy changes since 2012, and your documents may not work as well as they could. If you signed your will or trust after 2013 and it’s been more than a year since we talked, now is the time to make sure your plan still meets your needs and avoids confusion along with needless complexity, costs, and taxes. You may also be the beneficiary of a deceased loved one’s will or trust. These older trusts left by a parent or grandparent can often benefit from a “remodel” or modernization.

Quality estate planning is an ongoing process
Like investment or financial planning, tax planning, health and fitness, and so many other aspects of life, proper estate planning is an ongoing process that you must revisit regularly. We make it our business to keep up with the latest developments in legislation and know how to make changes to your plans to avoid risks and seize opportunities. But, we need your help and your engagement in the process to help you avoid the negative consequences of outdated or obsolete planning.

You are not trapped by old plans, even when they’re “irrevocable.”
Now that you are aware of an outdated trust posing a potential risk to your family’s long-term well-being, we can work with you to restate or amend your revocable trust or will. This is a straightforward solution that can update and modernize your trusts and make them ready for the current realities of the legal and financial landscape we live in today.

Many of you probably have an irrevocable trust of some kind as well, an inheritance from a parent or grandparent or even one you made yourself. There are more boundaries and modernization is a more involved process for an irrevocable trust, but we have an array of tools (decanting, trust protector restatement, judicial modification, or non-judicial settlement) at our disposal to “remodel” or modernize an existing irrevocable trust. You’ve probably heard about decanting. It is an increasingly popular option and borrows its name from the decanting process used for wine. Just as you can decant wine by pouring it from its original bottle into a new bottle, leaving the unwanted sediment in the original bottle, you can pour the assets from one trust into a new trust, leaving the unwanted terms in the original trust.

Just as there are many ways to remodel a home, there are many strategies and legal tools that can be used to modernize old estate plans. Since each plan is unique, the way to update it will be as well. Coming up with the most effective strategy requires careful consideration of your current goals and needs, as well as your tolerance for risk.

Even though there is no way to know for sure what to do until some analysis is complete, it’s better to have an informed choice rather than acting upon the assumption that your plan will work as intended, especially if it hasn’t been professionally reviewed. These are complex legal processes, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

We want you to have the best possible plan for your family. Since you and your circumstances are unique, give us a call today and let’s explore the options. We look forward to hearing from you.

View the AIA Virginia Benefits Package

Rob Smith
Chartwell Capital Advisors
Robert C. Smith, PLC
The Branch House
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 357-5977

More than just a law firm. We provide legal and financial services to businesses and wealthy individuals. We are problem solvers and opportunity seekers. We deliver and manage a wide variety of professional services for our clients. Once we identify your needs, we offer state of the art financial products to allow our clients to build and retain wealth and reduce risks. We either provide or broker/manage: legal, accounting, financial and real estate advisory services through our “best in the industry” model that allows our clients to receive outstanding professional services at competitive and fair prices.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax, accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.

Estate Planning

Talk to Your Family over the Holidays about Your Estate Plan
From Robert Smith

Robert (Rob) Coleman Smith
Robert (Rob) Coleman Smith

Many of us labor a lifetime to build up our assets and fight for causes that matter to us. Few things are more fulfilling than the thought of sharing wealth and legacy with our family.

Of course, it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but careful planning can mitigate against the two primary risks.

  1. Your intentions regarding your estate weren’t made clear, resulting in the potential for costly, time-consuming conflict.
  2. Your family did not understand or share your wealth management vision, resulting in the possibility of asset dissipation.

The good news is both of these issues can be prevented through honest communication with your family now. While it’s not necessarily comfortable to broach this topic, a family gathering at the holidays might be the best time to have a conversation with your children and loved ones about your estate plan.

Why it’s important to talk to your family

Passing along our wealth is one thing, but what about passing along the values of work ethic and generosity that enabled us to acquire and grow that wealth in the first place? Too many fortunes built by one generation are lost by the next, not due to bad luck or the IRS, but due to a lack of understanding of wealth management and preservation. Also, when your family doesn’t appreciate the rationale behind your estate planning choices like the use of lifetime trusts, this lack of understanding can lead to conflict and resentment among family members. In a worst case scenario, your heirs end up suing one another. No one relishes the idea of family being torn apart over antiques, heirlooms, or who gets the house on Long Island. Nevertheless, it happens far more often than anyone cares to admit.

Should you tell your children about their inheritance?

The question of whether to tell the children about their inheritance is the subject of ongoing debate. Many people express concern that this information might reduce a child’s work ethic or make them feel otherwise entitled, killing their motivation to seek a career and a “normal” life. Depending on the child’s temperament, this might be a legitimate point. On the other hand, inexperience and lack of understanding about wealth can result in a quickly lost inheritance, only because your heir didn’t know what to do.

The best path for most of us is a “happy medium,” sharing your plan in general terms with your heirs, without necessarily telling them the dollar values. You might even entrust some heirs with some responsibility for investment and entrepreneurial opportunities now before they inherit anything. This way, they begin to share your guiding values, and they are therefore better prepared to handle, manage and even grow their inheritance when they ultimately receive it.

Communication now prevents conflict later

You have put careful thought into which assets go to which beneficiaries and why. But, when the details of a plan are sprung on people, especially during a time of grief, differing opinions can create conflict. If your family unexpectedly discovers upon your death that there is a significant amount of money to be distributed, and you haven’t shared your rationale behind the decisions you’ve made, then you’ve set the stage for conflict and infighting – possibly even a costly and lengthy lawsuit.

To overcome these challenges, frame your estate planning around your guiding principles, communicate your intentions thoroughly in the trust, and explain your vision clearly to your trustees and beneficiaries while you’re still around to explain things. By attaching your values to your estate planning and involving your family in the process, your estate plan now becomes a family plan, minimizing the risk of conflict.

What should you discuss at the family meeting?

Once you’ve committed to discussing your estate planning with your family, what should you share specifically? Should you detail the entire plan with them, or just an outline of it? Should you go into detail about who gets what?

The specifics of what should and should not be discussed about your estate will depend on your family, your circumstances, and your overall level of comfort with how much knowledge they possess. You don’t necessarily have to violate your privacy, and there’s typically no need to reveal specific dollar amounts at this meeting. One big caveat – if there’s anything in your plan that might stir controversy, concealing it now serves to invite conflict later. Thus, a good basic rule of thumb is to share as much as is necessary to get everyone on the same page.

Tips for a successful estate planning family meeting

When you hold your family meeting, a bit of awkwardness is to be expected at first—after all, no one in your family (presumably) is likely eager to discuss what will happen when you die. Likewise, you need to be prepared to talk through some of the choices you’ve made that are likely to generate some pushback. However, the end of the meeting is often more comfortable than the beginning. The following guidance can help you get there.

  • Plan the meeting after the holiday, if possible. If you’re gathering the family at a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, try to arrange the actual meeting to take place after the holiday itself, so a potentially uncomfortable conversation doesn’t spoil any planned festivities.
  • Invite your financial advisor, estate planning attorney, and accountant to be in attendance. (More to this point momentarily.)
  • Schedule the meeting in a quiet place that encourages candid conversation. A public place is probably not appropriate for this discussion. Your financial advisor or estate planning attorney might have access to space if you need it and prefer a “neutral” site over your living room.
  • Arrange for child care. This meeting should be an adults-only gathering so everyone can participate without distractions from babies and children.
  • Set an agenda. Encourage open conversation, especially on any controversial points, but have a clear list of points to be covered, so you don’t forget anything in the midst of emotional moments.
  • Set a start and stop time. This step will help the meeting stay on track without meandering away from the main points. If something significant comes up, you can always continue the discussion later.
  • Strike an inclusive tone. While you should not suggest that your decisions are open to challenge or discussion (it is your estate plan after all), try to convey that you are inviting the family to share your vision and goals. If you can get them on board with you at the outset, the risk of disputes will be significantly reduced later.

Why involve your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant?

Some people might have misgivings about having a third party advisor present at an otherwise private family gathering, and it’s certainly not a mandatory step. However, you might want to consider inviting your financial advisor, estate planning attorney, or accountant to the meeting for the following reasons:

  • The presence of your financial and legal team can add a sense of authority to the conversation, reinforcing that your choices have not been arrived at lightly.
  • With your permission, your team can review the structure of your estate plan with your family, highlight its benefits, and make the meeting easier for you to conduct.
  • In some cases, there might be questions from your family. Your team can, with your permission, answer questions, especially those of a technical nature.

Tailor the role of your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant in your family meeting to your specific needs. Whoever you include can give a brief presentation of your estate plan as part of the proceedings, or simply be on hand to clarify points. When appropriate, someone from your team can even act as a facilitator or moderator for the meeting itself.

We are here for you

In whatever way you choose to address this sensitive subject with your family, remember that we are here to help, from a full review of your estate plan to offering guidance on how to include your loved ones in a family vision for your estate. When you’re ready, call us for an appointment to discuss your needs.

This newsletter article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax, accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.


Rob Smith and his team are ready to provide individual consulting services to assess your benefit needs in each of the disciplines listed below and find the best products and services to meet those needs. These services are available exclusively to AIA Virginia members to meet your needs as a business, individual, or employee with no obligation to buy.


Financial Planning Services
Chartwell Capital Advisors will meet with you to discuss your financial security goals and offer strategies for meeting them. Once a plan is crystallized, Chartwell will work with you to execute it by offering an array of financial products: investments, life insurance, annuities, long-term care, income protection, retirement plans, group benefits and more.

Legal Services | AIA Virginia Help Line:
Any member can call and get up to 15 minutes of free consulting services on legal matters related to business or personal estate planning. If legal services are needed, discounted pricing is available exclusively for AIA Virginia members. Services include contracts, design and construction law, estate planning, business formation, business succession and more.

Health Insurance
The Chartwell team can provide a holistic health insurance evaluation and prepare a recommendation for the best health care plan. Since Chartwell doesn’t represent just one carrier, they will identify each participant’s needs and provide personalized individual, business, group and health exchange services.

Commercial and Personal Lines Insurance
Chartwell can price and evaluate commercial insurance for business members including an “AIA Small Firm Package” (professional liability, workers comp, BOP, bonding, umbrella). Homeowners, auto, umbrella and more personal lines are also available as needed.

Ancillary Benefits
Chartwell can connect members with providers for: dental, vision, tele-doc, wellness, supplemental, accident, pharmacy, pet, hospitalization and other specialized benefits.

Download the benefits sheet>>

Contact: Robert (Rob) Coleman Smith
Chartwell Capital Advisors | Robert C. Smith, PLC
2501 Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 357-5977 | email: