Susan R. Schoenfeld, JD, LL.M. (Taxation), CPA, MBA, is CEO and founder of Wealth Legacy Advisors LLC. She is an award-winning Thought Leader to families of wealth, and Public Speaker to the financial services industry who serve them -- or want to! -- on the human issues that keep families of wealth up at night: legacy, governance, stewardship, succession, philanthropy, and managing fiduciary risk.
Based in New York City, Susan is a self-described “recovering” Attorney and CPA with deep experience as an advisor to families and family offices on the human issues of wealth, including generational legacy and wealth transfer. After leaving Trusts & Estates law, she ran the trust administration department for 14 years at a white-shoe ultra-high net worth trust company, and then was Family Ambassador for a $600 million single family office. Susan’s passion is helping families -- and their provider organizations -- with the tools to take them to their full potential.
Get to know Susan:
1. Attorney, CPA and Financial Services Leader. After practicing Tax Law and Trusts & Estates Law, Susan was Principal of Bessemer Trust for more than 14 years, where she developed and implemented generational wealth transfer planning strategies for high net worth individuals and families. She also created, developed and facilitated Bessemer's Women and Wealth Workshops, designed to explore personal aspects of wealth, which in turn inspired a series of Next Generation of Wealth workshops. In addition, she ran Bessemer’s donor advised fund, and also headed Bessemer’s Northeast Region Trust Administration group. After leaving Bessemer, she was Family Ambassador for a $600 million single family office, as liaison between the family office and its multi-national family members, facilitating the family meetings, and engaging and educating the next generation.
2. Author & Award-Winning Thought Leader. Susan was awarded ‘Best Thought Leadership – Individual’ at the Family Wealth Report Awards 2018.
She wrote “Fiduciary responsibility: the trustee role and its risks”, a chapter in Trusts in Prime Jurisdictions, Fourth Edition published in June 2016 by Globe Law and Business Ltd. and STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).
Recent articles include:
- Tips For Giving While Living, focusing on philanthropy as you approach retirement, Trusts & Estates online e-newsletter 10/3/2017;
- Succession Planning In and For the Family Office, The International Family Offices Journal, spring 2017;
- Family Office Succession Planning: Helping founders who are ready to retire, Trusts & Estates magazine High-Net-Worth Report 8/2016;
- Charity Should Begin at Home: Help clients develop a satisfying approach to philanthropy, Trusts & Estates magazine charitable giving issue 10/2015;
- Should You Be Trusted? What to consider before taking on the trustee role, Trusts & Estates magazine 6/2015;
- Defining Your Family Legacy, Family Office Review 2/2014;
- Susan was also featured in the February 2013 issue of Family Office Review.
3. Contributor to her Profession. Susan chairs the New York Family Business Study Group, is a member of NYC Family Enterprise Center’s Professional Advisory Board, AFHE (Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises), Family Firm Institute (FFI), American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, and is a former Board Member of the New York Philanthropic Advisors Network (NYPAN). She is Past Chair of the Family Office Committee, the Estate Planning Committee and the Tax Division Oversight Committee of the NYS Society of CPAs, and previously served as the Society’s Vice-President and on its Strategic Planning Task Force, Industry Division Oversight Committee, and Committee on Committee Operations. Susan chaired the Estate Planning Committee of the Society’s Westchester Chapter, served as Officer and Executive Board member, and is past-President of that Chapter. She was awarded the Chapter President’s Award, and has four times received the Chapter Appreciation Award.
4. Speaker. Susan is on the national speaking circuit on family office and fiduciary matters at conferences across the country from Newport, RI to Napa, CA, Chicago to Washington DC, Las Vegas, and of course her home town of NYC. Opal Family Office Forum has invited her back to speak at their annual flagship conference every year since 2014, as well as several of their smaller regional events. In addition to Opal, other recent presentations include, AFHE (Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises), Institute for Private Investors (IPI), Marcus Evans Private Wealth Management Summit, and numerous private banks and RIA’s. She has chaired the Foundation for Accounting Education’s Family Office Conference, Estate Planning Conference, and Annual Tax Conference numerous times.
5. Academic Over-Achiever and Serial Volunteer. In addition to her CPA, Susan was awarded an LL.M. (in Taxation) from NYU School of Law, a J.D. from Pace University School of Law, and BBA (summa cum laude) and MBA (with distinction) degrees in Accounting from Pace University. With 4 academic degrees and 2 professional licenses, she brings a rare ability to translate complex concepts into easy-to-digest actionable takeaways.
Susan is volunteer Treasurer for both the Broadway Training Center of Westchester, a not-for-profit performing arts school located in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, and the Sutton Place Synagogue Women’s League in NYC.
To keep life in balance, she loves to spend time in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
Bottom line: Susan Schoenfeld brings a unique combination of financial services, family office, estate planning law and entrepreneurship experiences to any project, and helps family offices and financial services firms create a family-centered culture around the human issues of wealth to boost morale, new business and the bottom line. For more information, please visit SusanSchoenfeld.com
- â€œFiduciary responsibility: the trustee role and its risksâ€, a chapter in Trusts in Prime Jurisdictions, Fourth Edition published in June 2016 by Globe Law and Business Ltd. and STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)
- Tips For Giving While Living, focusing on philanthropy as you approach retirement, Trusts & Estates online e-newsletter 10/3/2017
- Succession Planning In and For the Family Office, The International Family Offices Journal, spring 2017
- Family Office Succession Planning: Helping founders who are ready to retire, Trusts & Estates magazine High-Net-Worth Report 8/2016
- Charity Should Begin at Home: Help clients develop a satisfying approach to philanthropy, Trusts & Estates magazine charitable giving issue 10/2015
- Should You Be Trusted? What to consider before taking on the trustee role, Trusts & Estates magazine 6/2015
- Defining Your Family Legacy, Family Office Review 2/2014
- â€˜Best Thought Leadership â€“ Individualâ€™ at the Family Wealth Report Awards 2018
- Family Wealth Report Awards 2017 - shortlisted in the following categories: -FAMILY WEALTH CONSULTANT â€“ Awarded to an advisor or firm providing consulting services to families of significant wealth or their owned enterprises; helping them navigate the complex issues around generational transition and leadership succession. -LEADING INDIVIDUAL â€“ SUSAN R. SCHOENFELD â€“ something special should mark out this individual working in the private client world.