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Asset management: the key role of an estate planning attorney

Here’s why having ready and consistent access to an experienced estate planning attorney is critically important for any person or family concerned with wealth-related considerations: Money matters are complex, whether they relate to taxes, shielding and passing along assets, spending-down rules and regulations linked to government programs, trust creation, guardianships and myriad other estate planning matters.

As an individual in New York or elsewhere with questions and concerns regarding asset preservation, tax avoidance and other important planning issues, you might expect to hear that above-cited admonition from an estate planning firm. We pass it along here because it comes instead courtesy of a noted financial adviser who readily notes the importance of close input from a proven estate planning attorney whenever wealth-related planning is at stake.

John J. Bowen Jr. is a highly experienced financial adviser and columnist who writes about financial matters, as well as being the founder of a consulting firm. He stresses that, while he thought he could be the sole source of planning wisdom for clients when he first started out, he quickly found that view to be self-delusional. He now says that advisers who try to help clients without the professional input of specialists are crafting “a recipe for insufficient advice and dissatisfied clients.”

And the specialist that Bowen recommends fellow financial planners turn to first and before all others is a seasoned estate planning attorney.

The reasons he cites for that -- which we believe are obvious -- relate to the complexity of estate planning considerations, which can be multiple and constantly evolving. Bowen mentions wealth protection, succession and business planning, probate and guardianships. There can obviously be myriad other things to think about in any given case.

Bowen says he finds many attorneys who focus on financial planning and asset protection to be “skilled and willing collaborators” when it comes to working with financial planners.

That acumen and open-minded professionalism can help bring what Bowen says is “tremendous value” to estate planning clients.

Source: Financial Planning, "Expert resources: Who should be on your A-list?" John J. Bowen, Jr., March 31, 2014

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