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If you are a financial advisor, you may believe that estate planning is best handled by attorneys. While an attorney is necessary to draft legal documents, it is also beneficial for financial advisors to be part of the estate planning conversation.

For any individual with substantial assets, it is important to incorporate an estate plan into their financial planning. Your clients may face challenges, such as the need to provide for a disabled family member, wanting to give specific property to friends or family, or attempting to deal with a financially irresponsible child. They may also have concerns about ensuring that the next generation, or their heirs, use their inherited wealth wisely. That is where an attorney comes into play.

Combining Expertise Creates the Best Possible Estate Plan

At our office, we appreciate the involvement of financial advisors in the estate planning process. By combining the expertise of both the attorney and the financial advisor, clients can rest assured that their assets will be protected and their legacy will continue even after their death. Our attorney will even meet with the clients at the office of their financial advisor and facilitate a discussion that includes all parties.

This is helpful since the financial advisor will be present to include their input and ask questions, while also being able to assist their clients in the estate planning process in regards to their financial wealth, such as coordinating potential changes in beneficiary designations and account ownership. Also, meeting in the office of the financial advisor will ensure the clients are comfortable since they are in an environment they are familiar with.

The Client, the Financial Advisor and the Initial Consultation

In the initial consultation, the attorney will speak with both the client and their financial advisor to gain a clearer picture of the client’s family and financial situation. Information will be gathered about real estate owned, investments, and end of life wishes.

Decisions regarding beneficiaries, specific gifts/bequests, and who is trustworthy enough to be in charge will have to be made. Also, if there are minor children involved, guardians should be chosen in the event of death.

During the meeting, the attorney will make recommendations and quote fees for the documents that will be prepared. Normally, estate planning documents include

  • A Last Will and Testament
  • A Durable General Power of Attorney
  • A Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Will 

In addition, additional documents, such as deeds, trusts, or other custom estate planning tools may be required. Ideally, the turn-around time for the completion of all documents is a couple of weeks.

Once the documents are completed, a draft will be sent to the clients to proof and request any necessary changes. When the documents are satisfactory, we will arrange for a time for the clients can sign them at our office or in the office of their financial advisor, as long as two witnesses are available.

Financial Advisors and Attorneys as a Team Gets the Best Outcome for Clients

The combined efforts of both an attorney and financial advisor also ensure that all appropriate actions are taken after the creation of an estate plan. For example, if the creation of a trust is recommended by the attorney, but the client’s assets are never titled into the trust, the trust document is of little to no value. The attorney will prepare the document, along with the Last Will & Testament and powers of attorney, while the financial advisor will assist their clients in retitling their assets (brokerage accounts, real estate, vehicles, etc.)

Having the meeting at the financial advisor’s office and/or involving the financial advisor in the meeting may allow a client hesitant about meeting with an attorney to do so with additional confidence and support knowing that an already trusted person is with them.

Our office provides free resources for financial advisors to give to their clients that will help guide them through the estate planning process and informs them about probate law. If you are a financial advisor and are interested in working together with our attorneys to better assist your clients, contact our firm at 919-244-2019 or email [email protected]

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