Legacy & Estate Planning allows clients to address their values, finances and legacy plan progress. For most professionals and entrepreneurs the importance of proper estate planning need not be stressed. When you hear the term estate, it refers to everything that you have worked hard to accumulate. Your home, real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cars, life insurance, business interests, artwork and jewelry. Without proper planning and based on the amount of total assets that you own there could be a hefty tax bill to upwards of 55%. Additionally, your beneficiaries may also be delayed and inconvenienced with all of the requirements in settling your estate.
When you arrive at the important decision to hire an estate planner you want the best for your family. You will have to consider if you want a traditional estate planner who only focuses on the hard numbers and physical assets or would you prefer a holistic counselor who also incorporates legacy development and planning into the process. Conscientious adults make an effort to bank with the best, invest with the best and associate with the best. When seeking to hire a planner the qualities you need to look for include the following.
The sensitivity of your personal financial matters dictates that you need to have a high level of trust in the counselor who assists you with planning. Most high net worth individuals utilize a team approach that includes their accountant, their financial advisor and an estate planning attorney. Each of these professionals typically are competent and knowledgeable and have earned the clients trust over time and through reputation. The importance of using the team is that most already have these separate advisors in place, in order to keep an orderly ship, communication and collaboration is stressed so that all goals can be working simultaneously toward similar objectives. A separate approach often leads to undesired inefficiencies.
You should hire an estate planning lawyer that is highly professional. Your estate planning lawyer should be a recognized leader in his or her field and typically hold a special certification or advanced legal degree. In many instances your estate planning lawyer will be standing in your shoes as a professional representative of your interests and affairs. It is important that such an important representative properly represent your family’s good will and precious resources. If you have a complicated situation or lots of assets, choose someone experienced with complex situations and issues so they will always be a shining reflection of your initial decision to hire them in the first place.
Since estate planning will deal with all or most of your assets, you should hire an estate planning lawyer that is reliable and ethical. This fact can be checked by asking the lawyer if anyone has ever filed a complaint against them in the past. Most will answer honestly, but it is a question of ethics so one should always stay alert. An ethical estate planning lawyer should consider all your needs and best interests above everything else. An ethical planner will always provide sound and legal advice and never recommend faddish or illegal scams to save or hide money.
Commitment to a high standard of quality is a good characteristic in an estate planning attorney. Your planner should provide a warm and courteous environment that fosters a sense of security and accomplishment. Attention to the smallest detail in addressing every last issue in your legacy and estate planning process is the trademark of and excellent planning institution. Your planner is willing to stay until the job is complete and will not have problems working with your investment advisor, accountant and insurance professional. In the most productive relationships your planner is a multi-generational partner who will work with you side-by-side through a process that at times can be long and arduous, but is made simple and enjoyable due to their enthusiasm and pride in their work.
When you take the time to consider the long term implications of preparing a solid plan the question of who will prepare my plan becomes far more important. Utilize these tips and you should find a rewarding and securing planning experience just around the corner.