Spotlight: Ted Massaro, ChFC, CLU, AEP

At The Private Trust Company, we partner primarily with financial advisors and their clients who are in need of our experienced trust services. Together, we prepare a plan that works to protect what matters most to the client: their legacy.

Ted Massaro of M Financial Planning Services Inc., is an advisor we have had a successful partnership with for over 15 years. Given Ted’s extensive experience in financial services, we asked him to provide some wisdom to other financial advisors, whether they are just starting out or a few years in.

Tell me, how long you have been an investment advisor, and how long you have been with LPL?

This is my 45th year as an advisor and my 28th with LPL Financial.

Can you tell me a little about the role financial planning plays in your practice?

When I started the firm in 1982, comprehensive financial planning was my core philosophy. It’s an integral part of everything we do here and how we provide our clients with the best service that we can.

More specifically, can you tell me how you normally engage with clients regarding their estate plans?

Estate planning is a natural part of the planning process. Depending on the sophistication of the plan, it can become a significant part of the planning process. For example, let’s say we have a family come in with 52 million. Let’s say that they are a third-generation family-owned company. One of our main tasks at that point is working to plan for the fourth generation. We’ll work with their estate attorneys, CPAs, and eventually PTC if there are certain trusts that we need to move forward with.

How important is the role of trusts, particularly with your higher-value clients?

Personally speaking, I have a number of trusts in my estate plan. I eat my own cooking and I firmly believe that anyone that has any legitimate net worth to protect should seriously consider a trust, provided the size of the assets warrant the costs associated with it. There are many reasons to do so like creditor protection, spendthrift errors, other issues that help for estate tax purposes, and planning strategies that a trust plays a natural part.

Can you tell me a little about your experience with LPL’s trust subsidiary, The Private Trust Company?

PTC became a subsidiary of LPL in 2003. We began working with them within 18 months of their affiliation with LPL. My original background in financial services started on the insurance side back in 1976. Estate taxes and estate planning were even more onerous in the 70s and 80s than today. Today exemptions are over 23 million. In 76, they were 250 thousand. Trusts with life insurance were always part of our planning. I’ve worked with them forever. I’ve had very good success with them.

I’ve worked a lot with Ben Foreman and Susan Murphy, but everyone there is great to work with. They possess a lot of knowledge on complicated topics and are very proactive in helping you when you need assistance whether it’s getting documents to attorneys, stepping in for conversations with clients, etc. We also do a fair amount of charitable trusts with them also, which come with their own set of rules and regulations, so it’s nice to partner with a company that has experience in many different areas of trusts.

What is one thing you wish other financial advisors knew about trust planning and what PTC can provide them?

I think many financial advisors are not as cognizant of the importance of trust planning and estate planning. My son joined our firm after 5 years with Vanguard out of college. He’s doing phenomenal and has built out a whole financial planning service for young professionals. And one of the first things I emphasized to him was to go out and develop good relationships with estate planning professionals and CPAs. Networking is key. Referrals provide further growth. You do have to know what you’re talking about so you can’t just bluff your way through estate planning and tax laws. PTC is a valuable resource when it comes to all things trusts, so it would behoove all financial advisors to reach out to them and learn more.