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The Right Estate Manager Brings Order to Chaos

Downton Abbey has Mr. Charles Carson, Batman has Alfred Pennyworth, and Iron Man has Pepper Potts — loyal, dependable, adaptable people who run their principal’s estates like well-oiled machines — anticipating their every desire before its even articulated.

Although butlers, assistants, and majordomos are all needed to run households, today’s titles such as director of estates, executive estate manager, general manager, or chief of staff more accurately represent the corporate style structure that many estates have now adopted. This is the new reality of private service, striving to mimic the structure and policies of the corporate world.

At the same time, they’re also broader, incorporating an increasingly defined focus, meeting the requirements of a very particular set of skills — as unique as the families they serve.

Finding the perfect person for your estate management needs doesn’t happen by chance, in fact, it’s more like an art blended with science — a big part of which is pure chemistry. All in an effort to find that distinguished individual who encompasses all of the qualities needed to run the estate, its staff and all of the attached accouterments impeccably.

These detailed individuals are tasked with the art of perfection. Their job is to turn chaos into organization and to structure a functioning family into a seamless, smooth operation.

Typically, estate managers need to be masters of all trades because they are nearly all part of running an estate. Think about it, estate managers are multitaskers on steroids, they literally have a hand in every aspect of running of the estate including real estate, human relations, budgeting, planning, business management, general contracting, systems engineering, hospitality and high tech from proper etiquette to party planning with a little human psychology thrown in for good measure.

So, what does it take?


But to be more specific, the right agency will carefully listen to their client’s most important needs to find them an estate manager that checks all of the boxes. For the most part, estate managers need to take charge of the running of multiple residences, all staff, new land, and homes acquisitions, as well as yachts, planes, art, and antiques as well as any vendors the estate may need to work with — including disaster preparedness and recovery.


It’s nearly impossible to define a family’s “Lifestyle,” but to get a dream estate manager it’s important to be as specific as possible. Defining your family’s priorities and most important needs can be the best way to get that perfect person – one that aligns with your core values.

Be real — if you’re truly a clean freak, be upfront that you need a very high level of service or expect a lofty level of catering and communication.  Whether you run a formal household or casual is your way, it’s important to communicate your expectations.

“I need flexibility” is a generic phrase — try and specify what is flexible to you and what is a deal breaker, getting it all out on the table is crucial. Clearly stating priorities upfront will get you closer to your dream estate manager.

Important Qualities in Estate Managers:

  • Trustworthy: Possibly the most important quality an estate manager can have is trust. This is obtained in part by our extensive security and background check while scrutinizing all references. Your estate manager will need to essentially be your stand-in when you are unavailable and therefore will need to be able to have access to personal or sensitive information, including codes and passwords for important accounts. Included in trust would be the person’s unwavering discretion. Your estate manager may be privy to intimate details of your family most private matters. Discretion is an unteachable, innate part of a person’s character that is imperative to the job, but one that we look into when checking references.
  • Reliable: An estate manager needs to make themselves available to the principal’s ever-evolving agenda. Flexibility is an understatement. The principal has to trust that the estate manager will be there when needed.
  • Compassionate & Understanding: Building a symbiotic relationship comes with time. Intuition and the ability to understand what it takes to do the job is what a good estate manager is made of. Not only will your estate manager have a good working knowledge of your business, a basic understanding of your lifestyle, and what your personal preferences are, they need to understand and live up to the family’s core values.
  • Organizational and Time Management Skills: Being able to get the work done on time is critical to an estate manager. In addition, punctuality not only allows for proper scheduling but it serves as an example to the others on staff, reinforcing the importance of time management, keeps the entire operation running smoothly.
  • Leadership and Motivational Skills: The estate manager is your team leader overseeing the entire household staff while motivating them to perform up to the highest standards. Especially when the principal is not on the premises leadership is required to ensure that schedules are being adhered to and all wishes are being performed up to your specifications. Leadership sometimes requires the estate manager to personally step in when something goes wrong so that it can be corrected.
  • Problem Solving Skills: An estate manager is often required to think on their feet, making quick, creative and intuitive decisions for any problem that arises — especially when the principal is not available. Last minute cancellations, botched deliveries, miscalculations or any other sudden or out-of-the-ordinary circumstance — the estate manager needs to be the hero that corrects the problem before it actually becomes one.

Other important qualifications to consider:

  • High level of personal service experience with private families or individuals.
  • Advanced social skills including proper social etiquette.
  • Advanced cultural knowledge – well traveled.
  • Business skills including finance, computers, planning, organization and human resources.
  • Multi-lingual
  • Education – College or other advanced degrees in hotel, hospitality, business or in the fine arts and antiques.

At the Wellington Agency, we know that hiring an estate manager is not only a statement of your status. We can help you and your family run like absolute clockwork — organized and simplified, we can eliminate the chaos and anxiety of everyday life by employing the right estate manager.

Let the Wellington Agency help you choose the finest Estate Manager for your family’s needs. With many qualified candidates at our disposal, we can find the perfect match!

The Wellington Agency has offices located across the globe to meet your staffing needs. Please call and let our dedicated associates assist you in finding that perfect person: New York / London (917) 546-6809; Palm Beach / Miami (561) 713-2663; Los Angeles / Palos Verdes (310) 697-7191 and Boston (617) 275-8190.