Many individuals have a financial advisor, estate planning attorney, and a CPA. Each profession performs its own role, and it is useful to know which lane each occupies. For instance, a lawyer should not give investment advice and a financial advisor should not give legal advice. The specific legal routes one should take to carry out their estate plan is in the lawyer’s wheelhouse.  

A financial advisor can provide many services, such as investment management, tax planning, and retirement planning. It is an increasing trend that financial advisors provide a bevy of services, appearing to be a “one-stop-shop.” Included in these services, financial advisors may report that they provide estate planning. While it is true financial advisors may help with some estate planning related tasks, like changing beneficiaries on accounts, a financial advisors’ expertise is in finance.  

Our firm specializes in creating an estate plan that dictates the distribution of property after death, protects vulnerable family members, avoids probate, and promotes family harmony. Estate planning attorneys do this by drafting personalized estate planning tools, such as Wills, Special Needs Trusts, Advanced Directives, Revocable Living Trusts, and Powers of Attorney. Knowing the legal intricacies of these documents, and whether they are needed for your estate plan, is the attorney’s specialty.  

When it comes to questions of specific dollar amounts, we recommend clients see a financial advisor. For example, a financial advisor may help decide how much money to put into a trust to support a loved one during their lifetime. However, deciding if a trust is an appropriate estate planning tool for your situation, the creation of the trust, and the legal ramifications of specific trust provisions, are all legal questions that should be handled by an estate planning attorney.  

In sum, a lawyer cannot replace your financial advisor, and your financial advisor cannot replace your lawyer. For any specific issue, your financial advisor, lawyer, and CPA will all have their own perspective, unique to the role they play. Our firm frequently works with Clients’ financial advisors and CPAs to create the personalized estate plan right for them. 

Check out our article Discuss Financial Goals with Your Family, written by UBS Financial Advisor Gabe Lajeunesse.

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