topic | life planning - legacy

Step 2: which advisors are necessary . . .

Advisors for life planning vary by individual and circumstances. Some people rely solely on friends and relatives. A professional can provide tools and experience to help assemble plans quickly, thoroughly, and correctly.

Considerations in evaluating advisors include:

  • State licensing or certifications held
  • Client references
  • Fee structure
  • Preference for an advisor with multiple 'hats'?
  • Initial conference at no charge

Here is a list of professional advisor categories that may be useful for life planning. Advisors that practice in these categories may be found on this site. Many advisors offer services in more than one of these categories.


1. Certified Public Accountant

Certified Public Accountants (CPA) develop and implement strategies to conserve, increase, and pass on your estate with maximum tax savings. They play an integral role in preserving the integrity and value of an estate.


2. Charitable Planners

A Charitable Financial Planner is a specialist in the area of planned giving, including complex techniques involving private foundations, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, donor advised funds, life insurance, and remainder interests. Charitable Planners may play a significant role in estate planning and administration, especially in the area of continuing the individual's legacy.


3. Conservators (Guardians)

Guardianship and/or Conservatorship is a legal process used when a person can no longer make or communicate safe and sound decisions about his/her person and/or property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence. Because establishing a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship may remove considerable rights from an individual, it should be considered only after other alternatives have proven ineffective or unavailable. Medical conditions and/or age (child vs. adult) primarily determine when there may be a need for a Conservator/Guardian 


4. Estate attorneys

Complex or large estates, business partnerships of the deceased, complex trusts, or beneficiary problems may best be handled by an estate attorney. Their involvement in the estate administration process can be as in depth or minimal as desired or necessitated.

An estate attorney can play many roles. They may aid the distribution of assets or in upholding compliance to a Will. They can guide decision-making, provide court representation, or assist in filing probate paperwork. If the assistance of an attorney is necessary, ensure the attorney specializes in probate law. Such attorneys may be called estate attorneys or probate attorneys.


5. Financial Advisors

Financial planning before and after a death is equally as important. Before the death, a financial plan can become a blueprint to everything in the estate as well as the intentions of the estate plan. Financial plans involve five areas: tax planning, insurance planning, investment planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. A Financial Advisor can work to provide a comprehensive financial plan brings peace of mind and confidence to the family.


6. Heir Preparation Consultants

"Heir Preparation Consultant" is a generic term used to describe professional advisors who assist their clients to take personal inventories of their values, life lessons, unique abilities and knowledge, important beliefs, family traditions and vision, i.e. their "intangible wealth" — and use this information to prepare their heirs and successors for their inheritances so they won’t fight over them or use them in personally destructive ways. They are also important in the role of helping a client carry on the 'legacy'.


7. Insurance Agents

Insurance agents represent insurance companies to families, businesses, and individuals. Insurance agents may be employed with an independent agency, allowing customers to choose products from a number of different companies, or the agent may be a representative of one major company. They facilitate the selection and implementation of appropriate insurance policies for life, health, and property.


8. Trust Service Providers 

Trust Services can help in the process of establishing and managing a trust, either as a trustee or in support of a trustee. Trusts are often used to transfer assets from one generation to another before or after death. A trust is a relationship created at the direction of an individual, in which one or more persons hold that individual's property and protect it for the benefit of others.


The form Contacts-Finance Legal is available to store the information on any of the professionals engaged. Even if the professional was not contracted as of yet, it is a good source to maintain the name for future use.




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