Should my financial advisor be involved with my estate planning?

With all the different professionals out there who are involved in helping folks plan for and around life events, there can be some confusion around who is needed for what.

Many of the clients who come to my law firm looking for estate planning assistance come through a financial advisor or a tax advisor. These advisors are often times at the forefront of planning with the client. They are (and please excuse the sports analogy, but I am admittedly a huge college football fan) the Quarterback of their client's planning needs. This is what I call "comprehensive planning."

Many good financial and tax advisors will ensure that their clients' estate planning needs are covered, and they do so by being informed, educating, and bringing in estate planning attorneys to assist with the education and provide the necessary assistance to the client. These advisors will often times do this for other needs as well (e.g. real estate transactions, insurance needs, etc.).

What is important to realize is that both the attorney and the advisor have their respective roles. Both are involved in the planning, but it is the attorney's job to ultimately give the legal advice as to what tools should be used given the client's estate planning circumstances (e.g. wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, etc). The attorney will defer to the financial advisor on investment or insurance advice, and the tax advisor will work with the attorney to ensure the strategies implemented are as tax efficient for the client as legally and practically possible. The overall theme here is that the professionals are coming together and working as a team to assist with the client's needs.