You may never have considered your auto or homeowners’ insurance agent as part of your estate planning team, but you need to. Ditto for your tax advisor, life insurance agent, property inventory specialist, and realtor, not to mention financial advisor.
“It’s not unusual for clients to think of their financial lives in silos,” Andy Schwarts, CFP®, writes in Kiplinger.com. But, as he wisely points out, your advisors work best when they work together.
At Geyer Law, we agree. In the course of helping with business formation, our clients expect us to work together with their tax advisors. What is less commonly expected – but should be – is for all your advisors to work together as you formulate your estate plan.
“Alongside market uncertainty, the new administration’s potential policy changes present compelling wealth planning opportunities for thoughtful, forward-looking investors within the tax and wealth management spaces,” Clayton Bland writes in Financial Planning.”They should anticipate upcoming legislation to reshape estate and tax planning.”
“No one professional has all the answers, and diverse skills and experience are necessary for the best results. The team approach also minimizes time and costs – with everyone involved from planning through implementation, team members work together and hold one another accountable,” estateplanning.com aptly observes. “Done properly,” the authors note, “comprehensive estate planning includes much more than legal documents.” Additional considerations include:
- asset protection during life and for heirs
- providing for a surviving spouse in the event of disability or death
- providing for a parent or child with special needs
- long term health care
- estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes
- business succession plan (at retirement, disability or passing)
- business sale
- fire, flood, storm damage or loss
Family members as part of the estate planning team
“Involving your family members will acquaint them with the members of your advisory team, help them understand what is being done and why, and avoid confusion and distrust later,” the estateplanning.com authors significantly add. At our own Indiana estate planning law firm, we often host (either virtually or in-person) family meetings where clients can openly share with loved ones the values and assumptions underlying legacy plans and healthcare directives.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team