Well, it looks like we’ll end 2012 with a bang. Hurricane Sandy ravaged the northeast, and people are still struggling to recover. We all learned the importance of heeding the warnings of weather forecasters, although that may be difficult to do, since we’re never sure exactly what will happen until after the fact. I, for one, learned the importance of moving your car to a higher level in the face of a storm, lest it be completely submerged in floodwaters (unfortunately, I didn’t learn this lesson until after my car floated away). The same can be said for heeding the warnings of economic forecasts: Now that the election is over, what should we do as advisors to ensure that our clients financially remain on high ground in the new year? 

I’d also like to reflect on some of the exciting developments we’ve had here at Trusts & Estates. This year marked the launch of our new website, wealthmanagement.com and our new app, T & E Plus. We hope that these new tools make it easier for you to access our content, as well as increase the breadth of information to which you have access.

Last but not least, our December issue includes two practical articles aimed at helping fiduciaries manage investments. “Investment Benchmarks,” p. 40, by Douglas Moore, Daniel G. Couture and Michael A. Wilhelm sets out a five-step process to help enhance returns and manage risks. And, “Framework for Making Investment Decisions,” p. 49, by Paul L. Comstock and Stephen C. Browne gives advice about how to structure a portfolio. 

Moreover, to help your clients manage investments, in “Identifying Money Values,” p. 17, Elizabeth K. Miller discusses questions to ask clients to assist them in creating a strategy that meets their specific needs. And, in “Private Placement Variable Annuities,” p. 21, Edward J. Finley II and Michael Liebeskind explain the ins and outs of this powerful investment tool and how it can address income tax planning issues.