Clients can anticipate the most beneficial outcomes for themselves when their estate attorney and financial planner are working together on their behalf. The planner will regularly review the assets of their estate and advise on financial strategies, while the attorney will address the disposition of the assets after their passing.
Too often, estate planning can easily fall by the wayside, or deliberately be avoided by a client. I strongly encourage clients to have current estate documents in place and not treat any future remaining assets as "leftovers. Since it is essential for us to have conversations about what assets are to be used for various purposes, I want the client to have estate plans in place to follow through on their intentions.
Planners and estate attorneys work in two areas that are difficult for some families to discuss across generations: money and death. Where there is no discussion, there will be no understanding. Together, we can get them past their obstacles. If clients can broach the subject on at least one of these matters, maybe together, we can get them to address the other as well.
It is also important that beneficiaries on retirement accounts, annuities and life insurance policies agree with their intentions as indicated in a will or other documents. Good communication between the planner and attorney can better coordinate this. Unfortunately, clients do not always remember who they may have designated as beneficiaries, or think they can clarify or modify that through their final will. That is not the case. Financial instruments requiring designated beneficiaries will prevail over any other directives.
While trusts can serve many purposes, clients don't always remember what you have told them. I once had a new client tell me, with great pride, that they "had a trust. When I asked what was in it, I was met with silence and bewilderment. The individual simply did not understand that assets needed to be titled to the trust. The trust was empty and all assets were exposed and at risk.
Through collaboration and follow-up, I can better assure that the purposes and intentions of the trusts you create for your clients are met and maintained.
As a financial planner, I will have, or could develop, a very comprehensive and organized overview of a client's assets and property for more thorough estate planning or final directives. In conjunction with my work in the areas of divorce finance, post-divorce financial planning, and special needs children of divorce, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you for joint clients. My experiences have led me to a multi-disciplinary approach to family finance.
It is not unusual for clients to inherit sums of money that they are not accustomed to managing. I understand that certain sensitivities, to the loss of a loved one that your client is experiencing, are just as important as the financial concepts they will need to become familiar with. I make it a practice to simply work with them at a level they can understand, provide financial education along with financial services, and help them to make their best decisions going forward.
The myriad of financial products and instruments that are encountered in investment portfolios sometimes include things that the deceased did not completely understand themself, or may not have explained to their spouse and/or children. I am highly qualified to provide that assistance. Even relatively well informed heirs will need help developing the best strategies for their own future which will be on a very different timeline than the deceased. Previous decisions made may no longer be the best decisions.