Advisory Team for Estate Planning
This is a discussion of how it can be beneficial for an Estate Planning client to have a team of legal and financial professionals work together as an advisory group in order to jointly plan the components of an estate, from start to finish.
What does Estate Planning Cover?
Estate Planning does not refer exclusively to the creation of a series of documents by an attorney, nor is it merely an insurance or financial plan recommended by a financial advisor. Properly executed, an Estate Plan encompasses both legal and financial elements and may ultimately point out the need to consider additional areas, such as:
- Asset protection for the client’s lifetime and for the heirs;
- Providing for a surviving spouse in the event of disability and/or death;
- Providing for a parent or a child with special needs;
- Long-term health care costs; estate taxes; and
- Business succession plans at retirement, disability and/or death.
To meet a client’s needs and goals, it may be necessary to grow a business, increase or adjust insurance coverage, and manage investments strategically. This is generally not something that can be accomplished by one professional alone. However, a team of advisors can offer the diverse skills and experience necessary for the best result.
Rather than consulting with various professionals at different times and stages of the planning process, many people find it beneficial to have a team of advisors involved in process from the beginning. This team approach can minimize time and costs by allowing the advisors to work together and hold each other accountable from planning to implementation.
An advisory team assembled to create an Estate Plan will likely include the Estate Planning attorney, an accountant (or CPA), an insurance agent or broker, an investment advisor, and—in the event that a Trust is involved—a professional trustee. Depending on the particular circumstances of the individual’s needs, other advisors may also be included.
The Advisory Team Approach
The advisory process takes place in stages, with the team first meeting with the client to help identify goals and determine priorities. In this first stage, the advisors will be gathering information and asking questions of the client to gain insight into the client’s needs. Typically, the advisors will then meet without the client to discuss how best to achieve the client’s objectives, bringing their areas of expertise into the process as they consider various legal and financial solutions. Then, the advisory team will present its strategic recommendations to the client and, once this plan is approved, begin implementation. Occasionally, the team may also meet to monitor the progress and make any necessary revisions or adjustments as client needs or objectives change.
Lastly, by involving family members in the meeting process will acquaint them with the members of the advisory team and help these family members understand what is being planned and why, which can help avoid confusion, distrust, and frustration later. An advisory team can also provide continuity if planning provides for minor children, grandchildren, those with special needs, and even for generations to come.
ODGERS LAW GROUP specializes in Estate Planning and can help you create a master plan that is tailored to your needs while acting as part of an advisory team through experience working with financial management professionals. To learn more about estate planning or to schedule your free consultation with Mr. Odgers, contact us by e-mail, call us at (858) 764-2448, or schedule your appointment online here.