Archive for August, 2010

Do You Really Need to Disclose Everything You Own to Your Attorney and/or Financial Advisor?

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

In my experience, some clients are reluctant to reveal everything they own to any single advisor.  They may have investment assets with more than one investment advisor or insurance policies with more than one insurance professional.  However, when preparing for estate planning it is very important that the attorney (and any other professional advisors on the team) be informed of all assets you own.  That is the only way to design a comprehensive plan that will preserve your whole estate.

Sometimes clients neglect to list assets because they simply don’t think about them.  Is there gold or silver in the safe deposit box at the bank? Are there valuable coins, jewelry, or heirlooms tucked away at home?  What about the art collection that hangs on the walls?  Are there life insurance policies from decades ago that you have forgotten about because they no longer require premium payments?  It’s easy to overlook these assets and to focus only on bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other obvious investments.

Anything you own, whether or not it actually has a recorded title, is part of your taxable estate.  It is critical that when it comes to the estate planning process you fully disclose everything you own.  The attorney’s or advisor’s questionnaire will typically provide a comprehensive checklist of assets to guide you.  Call us anytime to discuss this in more detail.

What Is Financial Planning (Part Two)?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

The CFP Board of Standards is a self-regulatory organization for the financial planning industry.  They use the following steps in their planning process:

  1. Establish and define the client/planner relationship,
  2. Gather client data including goals,
  3. Analyze and evaluate the client’s financial status,
  4. Develop and present financial planning recommendations and / or alternatives
  5. Implement the financial planning recommendations, and
  6. Monitor the financial planning recommendations.

A comprehensive financial plan typically involves a review of at least the following broad areas of a client’s finances:

  1. Current financial position
  2. Retirement planning
  3. Investments
  4. Income tax planning
  5. Estate planning
  6. Risk management (insurance planning)
  7. Education planning

If you’d like more information on financial planning, please don’t hesitate to contact our office!

What Is Financial Planning (Part One)?

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Financial planning is probably one of the most future-oriented activities in which you will participate during your lifetime.  Because it looks ahead to the unknown, it can also be an intimidating task.  It requires you to determine where you want to be financially at different points in time in the years ahead; and then to set goals and establish strategies to get there.

In many cases the investment and insurance industries have created products to facilitate these goals and objectives.  Because of this, the financial planning industry began primarily with sales professionals who distributed these products.  As the profession matured, a more comprehensive financial planning process was created.  Financial advisors became less sales-oriented, and more counseling-oriented.

Financial planning as a profession is relatively new, so the term can be confusing for consumers.  There are no nationally prescribed standards defining what is meant by “financial planning.”  However, the CFP Board of Standards, a self-regulatory organization for the financial planning industry uses the many things in their planning process.  We’ll learn more about that in my next post!  Stay tuned…..