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The Final Step: Distribution of Assets
By Joel Feiger
In earlier issues of Insurable Interests, professionals with The Bensman Group have talked about the first two steps in creating a strong financial framework for your life: protecting the assets you have, and accumulating more assets. The final step is distributing those assets as part of your estate.
You have worked hard, invested wisely and accumulated significant wealth, and when you die, you want that wealth to benefit the people you love and the causes you support. You may even think you have taken all the necessary steps to ensure that happens. And you may be right. But if you are wrong, you can leave unprotected the very people you most want to take care of.
The first step in planning for distribution of assets is to find the right team to help you. That team should be led by a trusted advisor with an expertise in estate planning. One key member of the team is an estate planning attorney. Too many wealthy people make the mistake of choosing an attorney who has worked with them on other matters or who is a personal friend. But estate planning is one of the most complicated of legal tasks, with a myriad of tax considerations, control issues and estate choices. You need someone who can help you navigate through these tricky waters to arrive at the safe harbor you want to provide for your loved ones.
When choosing an estate planning attorney, we can help. Our experience working with these professionals will help you ask candidates the right questions regarding their professional experience, including how much of their time is spent on estate planning. What size and complexity of the estate plans they have handled, some of the challenges they have faced and how they met those challenges. What about their office setup, such as whether they share their caseload with associates and, if so, the qualifications of those associates. What about billing and whether the attorney can provide an estimated range for the cost of planning your estate.
But just as important as the questions asked of the attorney are the questions the attorney asks you. The attorney should want to know about you – about your financial situation, of course, but also about your family situation, including any special circumstances. If an attorney does not ask you about your situation, your level of understanding and your expectations for the estate planning process, then look for another attorney.
The attorney who heads your estate planning effort should work with other key people, including your accountant, banker, financial planner and appropriate family members. Such an integrated approach will significantly increase the likelihood that the estate plan will minimize tax concerns, maximize protection from creditors, satisfy legal requirements and safeguard the people you love.
We, at The Bensman Group, have extensive experience in integrated estate planning for affluent individuals, and we would welcome the opportunity to provide a no-obligation assessment of your existing estate plan. Please contact me at 847-572-0808 to discuss how we can assist you with your estate planning.
Please use the following link Bensman Group Referrals to contact us with the names of specific individuals that would appreciate an introduction to our firm.
* Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member NASD/SIPC and Federally Registered Investment Advisor, 1250 Capital of Texas Highway South, Building 2, Suite 125, Austin, Texas 78746. Telephone: 512-697-6000 NFP Securities, Inc. is not affiliated with The Bensman Group.