from The Law Office of James A. Hyatt
An Unprecedented Opportunity For Service
We are in the midst of the biggest generational transfer of wealth in history. “Baby Boomers” have begun retiring and their parents are entering their twilight years. This has created a tremendous, unprecedented need for quality advice and service in the fields of Estate Planning and Elder Law – from attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and insurance professionals.
We all know that “knowledge is power.” A good knowledge of Estate Planning and Elder Law principles will equip the advisor to provide much-needed advice and guidance to his or her clients.
The Team Approach to Estate Planning
Estate Planning encompasses many important issues, including tax avoidance, planning for minor children, wills, trusts, probate avoidance, medical directives, asset protection, family business succession, and planning for persons with “special needs,” to name a few. Elder Law planning often involves similar issues, as well as planning for long-term care, Medicaid issues, and guardianship. Clients need good advice and assistance from a variety of professionals. Our office can provide much of what the client needs, but not all of it. Thus, in order to provide the highest level of service to our clients, we need to get the client’s other trusted advisors on our “Estate Planning Team.”
We need to work with good accountants who can provide valuable input regarding asset valuations and tax projections necessary to develop planning options. Further, since we do not prepare income tax returns, the client’s accountant needs to be on our “team” in order to prepare fiduciary income tax returns for trusts and estates.
The Financial Advisor
Whenever possible, we also want the client’s financial advisor to participate in the Estate Planning process. It is critical that the client’s estate plan be coordinated with his or her financial plan. This is especially true for clients with high net worth. Our office does not offer financial advice or products, and we look for opportunities to bring the financial advisor into the planning process. Revocable Living Trusts are frequently the centerpiece of our clients’ estate plan. In order to achieve the full benefit of such planning, it is important that the clients’ assets be properly titled in the name of the Trust. For this reason, we want to work with the advisor to ensure the client’s plan is complete.
The Insurance Professional
For many clients, insurance – whether it be life, disability or long-term care – is essential in order to achieve their estate planning objectives. Insurance is often the “fuel” for the planning vehicle – providing liquidity when it is needed. We don’t provide insurance products, but we recognize their importance, and when insurance is necessary to achieve the planning objectives, we need to team up with knowledgeable and trustworthy insurance professionals.
Our “team approach” to Estate Planning is based on our belief that it is a “win-win” arrangement for the client and the advisor:
- The Client benefits from having the combined expertise of his most trusted advisor, and the plan is coordinated to achieve all of his financial and estate planning objectives
- The Advisor benefits by cementing his relationship with his appreciative client, and, potentially, from opportunities to provide additional products and services to the client in connection with the estate planning process
Joining Our “Team”
If you are a professional advisor, with clients who you think would benefit from a proper estate plan, consider us as a resource. Feel free to call us if you have questions. Ask your clients if their estate plan is up to date. If they don’t already have a relationship with an estate planning attorney, invite them to take advantage of our Complimentary Initial Consultation. We welcome you to attend the initial consultation, as long as the client is comfortable with that.
If you don’t already know us, please call to arrange a time when we can meet one another. We wouldn’t expect you to refer your dearest clients to someone you haven’t met, especially not for something as important as their estate plan.