How a Financial Advisor Can Help with Estate Planning

I’ll bet most people look forward to meeting with their attorney about as much as they look forward to a root canal.

Working with an estate attorney is often one of the first – and sometimes only – legal relationships many families experience. And it can be a daunting experience to build effective estate planning strategies. However the truth is, just meeting with an estate attorney is not enough to protect your legacy.

Case in point: a recent client thought he had done everything right when it came to estate planning. He had a will and a revocable trust that held the majority of his assets. He thought he had it all covered. However, imagine his shock when the client heard the bad news: he was recently married and if he were to pass away today, his wife would inherit next to nothing.

How could something major like that slip through the cracks?

I share this to make the point about the value of including your financial advisor in your estate planning process. By doing so, you can potentially save some money in the process – and avoid some potentially big mistakes in implementation.

Here are some specific areas where your financial advisor can help bring your estate planning strategies and efforts to the next level:

Help You Find a Qualified Attorney

You should expect your financial advisor to know you on a deeper level than your attorney. You should trust him or her with your goals and desires for your money, your worries, and your family. That’s part of their work and they devote a considerable amount of time while working with you to understand your life and goals.

When that relationship is combined with years of experience working with attorneys in the past, your advisor likely has a good idea of which attorney may be a good fit for you and your estate planning strategies.

Help You Plan for Your Estate Attorney Meeting

One of the most common concerns most people have engaging an attorney is a lack of understanding or knowledge of the cost of those meetings. The truth is that most attorneys bill on an hourly basis, which means you should do some homework up front to help make the engagement as efficient as possible.

Your financial advisor can walk you through exactly how to prepare for your meeting to minimize the time and cost involved.

For example, even before you meet with an attorney you should line up information ahead of time including a net worth statement and a list of account beneficiaries and heirs. You should also choose individuals who will fulfill important roles, like serve as the guardian for your children, the executor of your estate, and possible trustees or powers of attorney. If you can make some of these decisions in advance, the whole estate planning process will likely be faster, simpler, and less costly.

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