How Does the Planning Team Work Together?

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Imagine that you are going to build your dream home. You have the perfect piece of property and money is no object. You are free to hire the very best to construct every facet of your new home. You locate a phenomenal theater expert to design and install your ultimate home theater. You have the best custom cabinetmaker do all of the built-ins throughout the house. The top of the line granite and marble workers are available with the best products and processes. This excellence carries through every aspect of your project and every craftsman involved.

But then you inform them that they are expected to build your dream home without a blueprint, and without ever speaking to one another. How do you think your home will turn out?

This is a common occurrence in estate and financial planning. Clients begin without a blueprint. They have typically hired an attorney to handle business and estate planning issues. They usually have a CPA who takes care of all the tax issues. Other advisors often include insurance agents, investment professionals, bankers, realtors, and others they rely on to make important decisions. But there is typically very little communication between members of the client’s advisory team.

The problem with this scenario is that the client is left in the role of coordinating all of the advisory team members and determining whose advice is correct if there are contradictions between the advisors. Clients usually hire advisors because the advisors have a higher level of expertise than their own. So it’s virtually impossible to determine whether all of the pieces of advice are fitting together correctly.

For example, have you properly coordinated the beneficiary designations on your life insurance, retirement plan accounts, IRAs, and annuities with your estate plan? Do you realize that these things do not pass according to your will, but according to the named beneficiaries? The estate planning attorney may not have spoken to the insurance agent, investment professional, and other team members to ensure all of these details are properly coordinated.

What about the blueprint? Make certain that at least one of your advisory team members is in the business of helping you construct that master financial blueprint. It is best that one team member be responsible for the overall coordination of the team, to ensure proper communication and maximize your chance of building that financial dream home.