Estate Planning Team
The Attorney plays a key role in the estate planning process. Educating the client on current estate and gift tax laws, drafting documents to implement a client’s wishes and serving as a counselor on legal matters that arise after an estate plan is in place are key facets of the Attorney’s role. Working with Certified Public Accountants and Financial Advisors to make sure that assets are transferred properly to trusts or other recipients in accordance with the client’s plan are vital parts of the Attorney’s role.
The Certified Public Accountant has been playing a vital role in the area of financial planning for many years. This role developed from the tax planning and return preparation services provided by the Certified Public Accountant which enabled him to obtain considerable familiarity with the personal, professional and financial circumstances of an individual.
With the Certified Public Accountant’s knowledge of the basic principles of income, gift and estate taxation and fiduciary and probate accounting, the Certified Public Accountant is in an excellent position today to initiate or contribute to any estate planning team that is fully informed as to an individual’s lifetime and death time financial needs. During an individual’s lifetime, the Certified Public Accountant can analyze his financial status to set priorities for the utilization of cash during employment, retirement and post-death years, suggest various income and estate tax planning techniques to further build and preserve his estate and make many of the mathematical computations necessary in designing the specifics of an estate plan.
After an individual’s death, the Certified Public Accountant can render tax planning and preparation services. He can assist in valuing closely held stock, designing the estate’s books and records and preparing schedules for tax returns and accountings. In summary, the Certified Public Accountant has a significant and valuable role to play on any estate planning team.
The Financial Advisor may have one or more of the following designations: Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, Certified Private Wealth Advisor, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, and Certified Financial Planner. The Financial Advisor’s function in the estate planning team is to advise the client on how to create and preserve the capital and income required in personal and business situations. Capital and income creation through the use of insurance and other financial products will protect the family’s ability to survive financially and maintain a standard of living in the event of the disability or death of the income producer.
On the business scene, the financial advisor can assist the client in the type of product to provide the capital funding for the potential buy out of an owner’s business interest in the event of his death and to also insure the “key people” who are the life blood and profit center of any business.
The Financial Advisor may be the key player with respect to structuring savings for retirement and to suggest the best products suited to the client’s needs to ensure the necessary funds to cover the inevitable estate settlement costs at the time of the client’s death.
Commercial banks and trust companies have years of practical experience in trust administration and estate settlement. Many times the Trust Officer is able to suggest to the individual and his/her attorney a simpler, less costly way of implementing an estate plan. Trust Officers have faced the problem of estate liquidity where the bulk of the estate is in shares of a closely held company. The trust officer can identify a need for life insurance, key man or buy/sell insurance.