Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney A values-based, client-centered attorney will help your clients succeed.
An Interdisciplinary Approach
Another trait of the right kind of attorney is a true commitment to the team approach in estate planning. A good estate-planning attorney recognizes that every member of the planning team (the investment advisor, the insurance professional and the CPA) is vital to the success of the plan.
Legal documents are not enough. Even documents that have been drafted from in-depth counseling and are custom-designed to meet the unique needs of the client are not enough. Documents standing alone are like the proverbial automobile without fuel; the documents' instructions only apply to assets that are properly owned.
For example, a will only controls those things owned in the individual's nameónot jointly. The trust only controls those things owned by the trustee of the trust. An irrevocable life insurance trust works only if it is properly funded with a suitable insurance policy. Advanced entities require careful balancing of assets for maximum effectiveness. Accurate valuation of the client's business interests is imperative. New planning tools often require additional accounting and tax advice.
in-depth counseling forms the strong foundation upon which a long-term relationship is built.
Financial and insurance advisors, as well as accountants, provide the fuel that is needed to help ensure that appropriate financial assets are allocated and funded correctly, offer necessary valuations and tax returns, and provide the means for proper balance within the plan. The estate-planning attorney you work with should not only recognize these truths, he should also be communicating them to your client on your behalf.
Each member of the interdisciplinary team provides third-party credibility for the other members. If there is disagreement among the professionals on a strategy or its implementation, it can be discussed and worked out between them as a team. In this way, the client is served with unanimous agreement.
Mutual respect and clear protocols will characterize the interdisciplinary team that is working well together. Each team member will know exactly what is expected of him, and communication will be constant and clear.
Click here to continue to "A Client-Centered Relationship"