Law & Legal & Attorney Wills & trusts

The Team Approach to Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning, aside from your estate planning attorney, you should involve your other professional advisors, including your accountant, banker, insurance agent or broker, and financial advisor, as well as your family, and, if applicable, your religious advisor. Here's why.

Involving Your Accountant

Your accountant can provide valuable information to your estate planning attorney, such as when you purchased a piece of real estate and for what price, or how your business is structured.

Aside from this, your accountant will need to know, particularly if you do any advanced estate planning or asset protection planning, the tax status of the trusts you've created and the tax consequences of the gifts that you've made.

Involving Your Banker, Insurance Agent and Financial Advisor

Your banker, insurance agent or broker and financial advisor can also provide important information to your estate planning attorney, such as how your accounts are titled, cash values and beneficiaries of your life insurance policies, and values and beneficiaries of your retirement accounts and annuities. In addition, these professionals should be instrumental in making sure that your accounts are properly funded into your Revocable Living Trust and your beneficiary designations are updated to comply with the terms of your new or updated estate plan.

Involving Your Family and Religious Advisor

Involving your family in your estate plan from the beginning can promote harmony and avoid confusion and distrust later.

If you keep everything a secret, then your estate plan will be more prone to challenges after you die since no one other than your professional advisors will understand your true intent. Also, involving your family in complex estate planning transactions from the beginning will give them peace of mind after you're gone since they'll already understand what was done and why. Religious advisors may also be important to include when working on your estate plan, particularly if your religion has specific cannons about what should happen to your property after you die.

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