Engaging a well-rounded team of professionals and loved ones is essential to making sure that your financial- and estate-planning bases are covered.
Managing the moving parts of your financial picture can be complicated, and it only becomes more complex as your wealth increases. Engaging a well-rounded team of professionals and loved ones is essential to making sure that your financial- and estate-planning bases are covered. Consult with your financial advisor about building your team and managing those relationships.
Position Your Players
As you develop your financial plan, identify who in your personal life should know all or part of your plan. First, name your primary confidantes. These should be the people you can rely on to protect your most personal details, such as what you own and how to access it, as well as your wishes regarding your health and your children’s future.
Each member of your primary team should be kept up to date with your life changes and understand his or her role in carrying out your wishes, especially when it comes to serving as a trustee, executing powers of attorney or implementing healthcare directives. Those who don’t make the first cut will be part of your secondary team, people you trust with some personal information but not all.
Recruiting the Pros
When it comes to major decisions such as estate planning or selecting a power of attorney, you’ll want to enlist a group of experts. When building your professional team, consider your financial advisor the manager, the person who coordinates among the parties.
Consult with your advisor about selecting your team members and deciding how best to manage those relationships, taking into consideration how much you wish to share with whom – and when.
Did you know?
With your permission, your financial advisor can grant others access to important financial information on a need-to-know basis.
So, who should be included? It differs from person to person. Weigh each member’s role and when or how often they should be plugged in to your financial plan. Here are eight potential recruits to consider:
Estate Attorney: Those with complex family dynamics or intricate financial situations may wish to hire an estate planning lawyer to help address specific concerns that often arise in such situations. Additionally, an estate attorney can help draft a will and other essential documents.
Tax Professional: Tax professionals should be well versed in your financial and investment plans to ensure that they are being managed as tax-efficiently as possible and to make certain that all of your filings are completed accurately and on time.
Trustee: A person or organization that holds the legal title of an asset or group of assets for another person, the beneficiary. While you can choose yourself, a family member or even a friend, many investors prefer a corporate trustee for this responsibility because of the knowledge, time, resources and experience needed to manage a trust.
Appointed or Legal Guardian(s) of Children: Perhaps the most important decision for those with minor children, selecting the right person to care for your kids – and having a will in place – will ensure that your wishes are carried out as you desire. Otherwise, a court will choose who will care for and make decisions on behalf of a minor child.
Spouse: Your spouse is likely to be the first person to join your team and, aside from your advisor, know the most about your financial plan. Remember, though, that personal dynamics differ, and this is not always the case.
Parents: Your parents’ involvement in your financial planning can vary depending on circumstance. For some, they may serve as chosen guardians for minor children. They may plan to leave you an inheritance or support a child's education. Maybe, as they age, you will help them with their long-term care. Consider each applicable scenario and re-evaluate your financial plan and their role in it as they age.
Siblings: Adult siblings may be chosen as appointed guardians for children and therefore may need to know more about your financial plan than most. Additionally, they may collaborate when caring for aging parents and at times must work together through the process of receiving an inheritance.
Additional Beneficiaries: Children, grandchildren or others who are eligible to receive distributions from a trust, will or life insurance policy or will be impacted by your plan in another way. Beneficiaries are either named specifically in these documents or have met the stipulations that make them eligible for distributions.