As a high net worth individual, creating an estate plan is a complex and individualized process that takes both financial and personal goals into consideration. In addition to naming beneficiaries and putting protections in place to reduce estate taxes, your estate plan is also an opportunity to build a more personal legacy for your children and grandchildren.
A thoughtfully curated estate plan can transfer more than inherited wealth to future generations. It can also ensure the continuation of cherished beliefs, ideals, and principles like the value of arduous work, recognition of heritage, dedication to charitable endeavors and a commitment to supporting the community and society in general.
To create a plan that achieves your specific goals and reflects your value system, a cooperative, multidisciplinary team approach is the most successful. An effective estate planning team combines the expertise of an experienced estate planning attorney with other professionals that contribute specialized skills and a valuable knowledge base to the process.
Who is on the team?
At the helm of the estate planning team is an estate planning attorney, someone who focuses primarily in this practice area of the law. This attorney’s area of expertise not only creates the legal documents you will need, but also understands asset protection strategies. As a HNWI, you will probably want to engage the services of your CPA, who is well-versed in the ever-changing field of federal estate tax laws. These two professionals work in conjunction to minimize taxes, take advantage of tax-deferred investments, and implement strategies to protect assets from overly, litigious attacks.
Another important team member is a financial advisor, who can recommend investments that are both beneficial to your estate plan and your current and future financial goals. Some financial advisors are also trained in matters involving insurance, such as premium financing for life insurance or disability insurance. Adding an insurance professional to the team offers a more thorough approach.
A few other professionals to consider as possible team members might include a trustee and a valuation consultant. If your estate plan includes a trust and you don’t have the time, desire, or expertise to manage and administer the trust yourself, adding a professional trustee to the team adds more protection and detail to your planning. They can take responsibility for overseeing investment management in accordance with your wishes. If there is a business to consider, a valuation consultant, otherwise known as a business appraiser, should also be part of the team.
Keeping communication open
One of the most important aspects of assembling an estate planning dream team is to establish clear lines of communication among the members. Since each professional focuses on a single area of a client’s estate plan. Their recommendations work best with a collaborative approach.
Some designate a team leader who has the ability and experience to ensure the various members work in conjunction with one another. An estate planning attorney whose area of practice is ultra high net worth estate planning can be effective in this role.