Information for Trusted Advisors

For Our Advisor Colleagues In and Around Long Beach, California:

The Team Approach to Estate Planning

Estate Planning encompasses many important issues, including tax avoidance, planning for minor children, wills, trusts, probate avoidance, medical directives, asset protection and family business succession. Clients need good advice and assistance from a variety of professionals. Our office can provide much of what the client needs, but not all of it. Thus, in order to provide the highest level of service to our clients, we need to get the client’s other trusted advisors on our “Estate Planning Team.”

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The Accountant. We need to work with accountants who can provide valuable input regarding asset valuations and tax projections necessary to develop planning options. Further, since we do not prepare income tax returns, the client’s accountant needs to be on our “team” in order to prepare fiduciary income tax returns for trusts and estates. We often work with accountants to assist clients in preparing trust accountings for reports to beneficiaries or courts.

The Financial Advisor. Whenever possible, we welcome the coordination of the client’s financial advisor in the Estate Planning process to help ensure that the client’s estate plan be coordinated with his or her financial plan. Our office does not offer financial advice or products and has a firm policy of not questioning any investment decisions or advice that has been given to a client without discussing the matter directly with the advisor first. We look for opportunities to bring the financial advisor into the planning process. Revocable Living Trusts are frequently the centerpiece of our clients’ estate plan. In order to achieve the full benefit of such planning, it is important that the clients’ assets be properly titled in the name of the Trust – an aspect of estate planning in which our office distinguishes itself by providing hand-holding to our clients throughout the funding process.

The Insurance Professional. For many clients, insurance – whether it be life, disability or long-term care – is essential in order to achieve their estate planning objectives. Insurance is often the “fuel” for the planning vehicle – providing liquidity in order to pay taxes or estate expenses, as well as to potentially fund the purchase or continuing operations of a family business. We don’t provide insurance products, but we recognize their importance, and when insurance is necessary to achieve the planning objectives, we need to team up with knowledgeable and trustworthy insurance professionals.

Our “team approach” to Estate Planning is based on our belief that it is a “win-win” arrangement for the client and the advisor:

  • The Client benefits from having the combined expertise of his most trusted advisor, and the plan is coordinated to achieve all of his financial and estate planning objectives
  • The Advisor benefits by cementing his relationship with his appreciative client, and, potentially, from opportunities to provide additional products and services to the client in connection with the estate planning process

If you are a professional advisor in Belmont Shore or other areas surrounding Long Beach, California, with clients who you think would benefit from a proper estate plan, consider us as a resource. Feel free to call us if you have questions. (We won’t send you a bill!) Ask your clients if their estate plan is up to date. If they don’t already have a relationship with an estate planning attorney, invite them to take advantage of our Complimentary Initial Consultation. We welcome you to attend the initial consultation, as long as the client is comfortable with that. We are also happy to schedule an initial meeting at your office if that would be more comfortable for the client.

If you don’t already know us, please call to arrange a time when we can meet to discuss our respective offices’ philosophies and see if it might be a match for us to work together.

Step 1. The advisor meets with the client to discuss estate planning and recommends Kaiser Law Group for estate planning. The advisor may use our handout “Does Your Client’s Estate Plan Address These Issues?” during the discussion.

Step 2. During the meeting with the advisor and their client, the advisor’s office or the client contacts Lorie Salcedo, our Client Services Coordinator, to schedule an estate planning session with Curtis Kaiser. At the initial consultation, we will discuss planning options with the client. If the referral is made from a trusted advisor, we will waive the fee for the initial planning session. If the clients would like a comprehensive review of their current estate planning documents, we charge a review fee of $500.  This fee will be applied towards any work we are retained to provide.

Step 3. At the client’s request, Lorie will send our “New Client Welcome Package” to the client. The package includes an Estate Planning Questionnaire and a list of documents to be furnished to our office prior to the initial meeting.   The package also includes directions to our office and a schedule that shows our fee ranges.

Step 4. The client completes the Estate Planning Questionnaire and returns it to our office by mail or by fax/email at least two business days prior to the scheduled initial estate planning session. The client should also provide us with the requested documents prior to or at the initial consultation.

Step 5. The client attends the estate planning consultation. The advisor’s attendance is welcomed. During the initial planning session, we discuss the client’s goals and educate them about the planning process.  Planning fees are quoted in advance and agreed to before a plan is designed.

Step 6. If the client decides to retain our firm, half of the fee is due at the beginning of the engagement. We request all fees at the time of engagement. At the conclusion of the initial consultation, if the client decides not to retain us, there is no fee.

Step 7. After the clients’ plan is designed, we will provide our clients with a plain-English summary of the clients’ choices and the plan to be implemented. We will schedule a telephone call between the clients and Curtis Kaiser once the clients have reviewed the summary in order to go over the plan and make sure that we are all on the same page.

Step 8. After Curtis and the clients have confirmed that the summary is appropriate, we will draft the estate plan and will be in contact with the clients as further issues or questions arise.

Step 9. At the signing ceremony, all documents are executed and Curtis goes over the summary and estate plan documents with the Clients.

Step 10. After the documents have been executed, we file paperwork with the county recorder to “fund” the clients’ personal residence and any other real estate to the trust.  Additionally, although clients have the ultimate responsibility to maintain a properly-funded trust, we work closely with clients as they go through the funding process to handle any issues that may arise with any financial institutions.