It’s pretty common for my clients to also use the services of a financial advisor. In fact, many of my clients who are putting a will together are referred to me by their financial advisor. Because a financial planner and an attorney are often working on similar goals for a client, there can often be confusion over who you should talk to. When you throw an accountant into the mix, it can seem like you are working with an ever growing team.
The key thing to remember is that you are the “owner” of the team. If you find one of your advisors is out of sync with the others, you are perfectly within your rights to swap them out for a different person. For this reason, it can be particularly helpful if your attorney, financial advisor and accountant know each other and are able to work well together. It saves you a lot of time (and fees). You can feel comfortable that they can talk amongst themselves. They can work together to devise a strategy that works best for you.
Financial Planning Consistent With Your Will
Your financial planning process is unique to you. There can be similar goals to others you know, but your personal situation is unique. Working with a financial planner, you can design your financial future. One of the most important components of that is what happens when you are dead.
The financial advisor can help you keep your assets in the right place so as to minimize any tax consequences that may occur when you die and your family inherits your estate. Maybe you want to roll the money over to your children’s retirement accounts. Perhaps your children are all financially independent and it would be a better idea to give the money to your grandchildren instead. Rather than having shoe boxes under your mattress for each grandchild, a financial advisor can help you put your money in a safe place. You can rest knowing that your wishes are being administered properly.
Nuts and Bolts
Accomplishing your goals takes the input of the financial planner in setting up your will. Do you have retirement accounts with beneficiaries? What about your house? Have you been paying for a life insurance policy for years? These all have different consequences when you die and should be discussed with both your financial planner and your attorney.
It is becoming increasingly common for my clients to ask me “What should I do with [insert financial asset here]?” Or I get asked “How much tax will I pay if I sell [insert asset here]?” While it is important to discuss these types of things with your attorney, these are both good questions for your financial advisor and your accountant. Sure, there are legal implications to each scenario. But if you have other trusted advisors, don’t leave them out of the process. Everyone should be involved to make sure you have all your bases covered.
** If you don’t have a financial advisor or accountant,
I’d be happy to introduce you to one (or both) depending on what your needs may be **
If you have your team assembled, it’s also important that everyone knows who to contact. Especially for your estate plan documents, it’s good to have the information in one place. To help with that, I’ve created the My Personal Planning Essentials checklist that you can download for free. Fill it out and keep it with your important documents.