Q: My accountant has been the sole provider of advice for my personal and business affairs over many years. My estate plan needs updating and he referred me to a financial adviser to advise, facilitate and guide me through the process in conjunction with a solicitor. Shouldn’t my accountant do this for me or should I go direct to a solicitor?
A: Your accountant’s role as your trusted adviser has meant you have turned to him for advice in all areas of your personal and business financial affairs. However, due to changes in legislation and the need for specialist advice, the landscape has changed. An accountant is not licenced to provide many of the financial services or advice that you require, including Estate Planning advice.
Accountants can and do delegate this task directly to a solicitor, however, it is common these days for a referral to be made to a financial adviser who can find the most appropriate and relevant specialists for your needs. For example, at WealthPartners we have professional relationships with a number of specialist firms, so that we may match the firm with your Estate Planning needs.
Similarly to your Accountant, a financial adviser is not authorised or licenced to construct your Will or an important legal document such as a Power of Attorney. However, financial advisers who specialise in estate planning can offer some advantages including:
- Developing an understanding of your family
structure, motivations, fears and objections
- The pre-requisite knowledge, experience and understanding of your individual/family financial situation
- An understanding how your financial plan fits into your estate plan is imperative to overcoming any potential issues (such as short falls in funding a legacy or providing for minor children)
- Ability to assist you in making key decisions about your non-estate assets such as trusts and superannuation
- Access to and control all of the required information used during the process (or can work with your other trusted advisers such as your accountant) i.e. visibility to the bigger picture
In a recent blog post (click here), we touched on the reasons why people fail to create a plan to pass on their legacy. We understand that the issues preventing clients from completing their legacy plan can be unique, however, stem from some common objections including; basic fear, complexity and the costs involved.
Working with a financial adviser can overcome common objections and concerns. Most importantly, a financial adviser can ensure that your legacy plan is structured according to your overall values and will deliver what you have identified as most important to you and your family.
The role of the financial adviser is to look at the big picture and to guide and advise you by facilitating a process which ensures you satisfy your goals and objectives. The majority of our clients seeking to create a plan to pass on their legacy will require the services of more than one specialised professional. Therefore, having a board of advisers is important as it may include a financial adviser, accountant and solicitor who can collaborate and ensure that your legacy plan hits the mark.