Santa Claus is not the only one making a list and checking it twice. Take 5 minutes now and call
your estate planning attorney, CPA, financial advisor, and insurance professional for a sit down
meeting in January, February, or March of 2011. Then, go eat cookies!
Just a quick reminder because I know that you smell those chocolate chips, your financial well
being is not a “Lone Ranger” sport. You need a team of professionals who can work together
in your best interest. And, no, you do not need to be rich to have a team. Fees for meeting with
your estate planning attorney and CPA will be commensurate with your assets and your needs.
There is not likely to be a fee for meeting with your financial advisor and insurance professional
because they are paid through your investments and purchases.
If you do not have these professionals, hire them now. It is short sighted to skimp on
professional fees or time invested in meetings. For example, consider the estate planning
client who did not disclose all of his assets to his attorney because he was afraid that the
attorney would charge him a larger fee. He was right. The attorney would have charged
him about $2,000 more for his planning fee. The client died shortly thereafter and during the
administration of his estate, the additional assets were discovered. The client who saved $2,000
on his planning fees, unnecessarily paid $200,000 in federal estate taxes because he did not have
planning appropriate to his assets.
Generally, you should meet with your estate planning attorney whenever there are changes in
your family, your assets, or there are major changes in the law.
Meet with your CPA twice a year or as recommended. Typically, there is one tax planning
meeting and one tax preparation meeting.
Financial advisors typically suggest that you meet or touch base with them quarterly.
Some insurance professionals handle life insurance, disability insurance, and the like. Others
handle property and casualty insurance such as automobile, home owners’, and umbrella liability
insurances. Meeting once a year to make sure all is in order is recommended. Meeting every
three years is an absolute minimum.
Be sure that your advisory team members are willing to communicate and work together. Their
collective expertise All planning is a process, not a once and done. Make the appointments now
so you can get to those cookies while they are still warm.
If you have any questions about your estate planning please feel free to contact my office for an