Recently we were reviewing a client’s financial situation when we found that he didn’t have an estate plan in place. That can be especially bad news in the state of Oregon, where his assets would not have gone where he wanted them if he passed away.
We quickly put a stopgap in place and connected him with an estate planner who helped him set up a plan that ensured his assets will go where he wants when the time comes.
Another client hadn’t been taking their Required Minimum Distributions from a large investment company that didn’t oversee that. The client had 8 years of no distributions which can result in a 50% penalty of distributions not taken.
And with that, we saw reason #2,706 (or so) of why everyone should have a financial team watching out for them.
If you don’t have at least one professional on your financial team, now is a great time to get started. Many of the professionals on this list may seem like they fall in the “I’ll call them when I need them” category, but that may be too late.
Today, we want to look at who you should have on your financial team and why.
1. Financial Advisor
Of course an advisor is going to put a financial advisor as the first person you should have on your team, right?
Yes and no. The main reason I’m listing the financial advisor first is because we act as the coordinator between all of the professionals you work with. I also list it first because less than 1/3 of people in the U.S. work with an advisor.
A financial planner’s job is to understand the big picture of your life goals. In other words, we make it our business to know everything about you, so it just makes the most sense that your planner would be the coordinator of everyone on your team.
Your accountant knows everything tax-related, your attorney knows everything about legal matters—but your financial planner should know everything.
2a. Estate Planning Attorney
Like I said at the beginning of this article, an estate planner is there to help you make sure that your assets go where you want after you die—and they make sure your loved ones are taken care of.
Whether you want to leave all your money to your kids or to charity, or give your car to your favorite grandkid, or leave your house to your best friend, an estate planner understands the legal requirements of such moves.
A good estate planning attorney can also help you prepare for the tax ramifications of your plans for giving. For most people, the last thing they want to do is leave their loved ones with a giant tax liability, and an estate planning attorney can help you plan accordingly. They also are the ones that draft all the legal documents.
A lot of people don’t know what it means to “have” an attorney. What does it even mean when someone says they’ll “talk it over with my lawyer”? Do they have so many legal needs that they keep an attorney on retainer? Or do they just have someone they use when the need arises?
Likely the latter is the case, unless they are a business owner or have some other need for frequent professional advice.
Having an established relationship with an attorney doesn’t have to mean you keep them on retainer. It could just mean you know an attorney who you trust and could turn to if need be.
Your attorney can help you by reviewing any big contracts before you sign, writing legal documents on your behalf, and navigating any legal matters alongside you.
You may be able to find one attorney to fulfill your estate planning and legal needs or you may want a different one to fulfill each role.
Tax law is incredibly complicated, and the more complex your financial situation becomes, the more involved the process of filing your taxes will grow. A good accountant can save you thousands of dollars a year just by understanding the ins and outs of tax law.
Some accountants help with tax planning, but most don’t, so it’s important that you have a financial planner on your team who understands how to manage your portfolio in a way that minimizes your tax burden.
4. Insurance Agent
When you’re looking at insurance, it’s always good to have an objective person looking at it to make sure it’s best for you. A good agent can help you make sure you are covered for everything you need—and that you aren’t paying for coverage you don’t need.
By doing a comprehensive financial plan we can make sure that you are prepared and can ask an insurance agent the appropriate questions. This helps make sure your home is covered when you begin that remodel you’ve been saving for forever, or that the business you just started out of your home is fully covered.
5. Other Specialists
Depending on your situation, it may be wise to add other specialists to your team.
If you’re a business owner, then you’ll likely want a bookkeeper to help keep your day-to-day finances in order. If you own properties, you’ll likely need an attorney to handle any matters that arise with tenants or real estate.
If you’re a few years into retirement, you may want a senior care specialist to help coordinate anything you need help with.
Whatever your financial team looks like, know we’re there to protect you and your family and save you money in the long run, so it’s important that you build a team of people you can trust.
Want to see how we could help you coordinate your financial team? Schedule a complimentary consultation with us today!