Information for Trusted Advisors
For Our Advisor Colleagues:
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 ideally like to work as a team with all of the client’s trusted advisors.
We do that most effectively for our clients on our Legacy Program. As a preferred alternative to what we call the “traditional” or transactional model of estate planning – where an estate plan is created and slowly degrades from inattention by the client and attorney over time – Kaiser Law Group’s Legacy Program allows us to be proactive with the client and their trusted advisors to best adapt to changes in assets, laws, family situation, etc. and communicate those changes to our clients, and as necessary, to their successor trustees and beneficiaries.
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 aligned with his or her financial plan. 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 and beneficiaries are appropriately designated– an aspect of estate planning in which our office distinguishes itself through our Legacy Program by taking the lead for our clients in working with their financial advisor to properly align their assets with their estate plan.
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.
The Team Approach. 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 the client’s financial and estate planning objectives
- The Advisor benefits by cementing his relationship with his appreciative client, and, potentially, form opportunities to provide additional products and services to the client in connection with the estate planning process
If you are an advisor with clients who you think would benefit from a proper estate plan (especially if you’ve seen what happens with traditional estate plans and want to learn more about our Legacy Program), consider us as a resource. Feel free to call us if you have questions. 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.
Step 1. 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 arrangement. We are also happy to schedule an initial meeting at your office if that would be more comfortable for the client. 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.
Step 2. At the initial consultation, we will discuss planning options with the client. 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 in advance of the initial meeting.
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, we request all fees as a deposit 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 with the clients in order to go over the plan and make sure that we are all on the same page.
Step 8. After our office 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 we go over the summary and complete estate plan documents with the Clients.
Step 10. After the documents have been executed, we file paperwork with the county recorder to retitle the clients’ personal residence and any other real estate to the trust. For our Legacy Program clients, we take the lead in working with the clients’ advisors and financial institutions to properly align each asset with the estate plan.