What Role Does a Financial Advisor Have in Estate Planning?

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The financial advisor/planner spends time clarifying goals and objectives, and then assists in the development of your personalized vision. Additionally, the financial advisor spends time guiding the planning process. He or she may assist in the gathering of information, and organize that information in a format that is useful to all the team members.

Once data is verified, the advisor will seek to find inconsistencies within the existing plan and begin discovering the “gaps” of those problem areas that are not consistent with your vision.

Once areas of concern are identified, the financial advisor will collaborate with the advisory team to verify the appropriateness of the suggested recommendations. Upon agreement, the financial advisor will often guide the implementation process with the other advisors until the areas of concern are satisfied. (Sometimes the process is guided by the attorney.)

Thereafter, the financial advisor will help monitor the plan and make appropriate recommendations to make sure the plan is meeting the goals set forth during discovery and implementation.

What questions should I ask a financial advisor when I interview him or her?

What are their credentials and experience in financial planning? Do they or anybody in their organization hold the CFP® or other designation? Are they licensed to sell securities? How many years have they been practicing financial planning?

Does the financial advisor follow a process when developing a financial or estate plan? Financial and estate planning is a process of gathering information, reviewing the data, finding potential weaknesses, implementing the recommended changes, and providing ongoing monitoring of your progress.  It is essential that your advisor has a process in place.

How is the financial advisor compensated?

What is the advisor’s investment philosophy?