If you have somebody who understands the big picture and is bringing your financial/accounting/legal advisors together, you will achieve far better outcomes for your family’s financial and estate planning.
Today’s subject is the concept of collaboration. I firmly believe that as a financial advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER that I should be in contact with the attorneys and accountants that also represent my clients. If we put together a team for the families that we work with, we can achieve much better outcomes than if we work independently of each other. This is really important and I don’t think it happens as often as it should for high net worth families. If you’ve got somebody that understands the big picture and is putting that financial-accounting-legal team together, you’re going to get much better outcomes for your family.
Collaboration with Your Accountant
Let me give you an example. We had a construction family that had been working with an accountant and we took over the financial advisor role in that relationship. The first thing that I did was call the accountant, and I said “Let’s walk through what’s happening with this family and what type of plan they have in place.” We went through the numbers—the accountant and I—we showed them the outcome they could achieve, both from a tax savings perspective and in retirement income if they established a simple retirement plan for their construction business. Oh and by the way, they helped their employees a lot too.
Collaboration with Your Attorney
The estate planning attorneys are also critical. Clients will go to an attorney, they’ll have documents drafted, and they’ll get a letter from the attorney that says “these are the things that you need to implement for your estate plan.” They’ll put the letter and the documents in a file and they’ll never take the action steps on that letter. We always ask for the letter from the estate planning attorney when we take on a new client. Then we call that attorney and we clarify exactly what that letter means. If beneficiaries need to be changed, we change the beneficiaries. If trusts need to be funded, we fund the trusts. If we need to remove joint tenancy on accounts and move them into trust accounts, we do those things as well.
Maximum Planning Results
I find that if you drop the ball because you don’t have collaboration among your professionals, you’re not really adding the true value and the principled wealth process that can add so much value to your financial and estate planning results.
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