Who's On The Team? The Digital Family Office

#estateplanning #financialplanning #guides #legaldocuments #longtermplanning #planning #trustplanning #trusts asset protection attorneys advice checklist estate planning estate planning attorney estate planning checklists getting started lawyers advice north carolina planningattorney the plain english attorney™ trust planning Mar 11, 2024
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Who's on the team? Or more specifically who's on your team? When it comes to your legal and financial picture in the long run, and who is working with you and your family, it takes more than one professional to know, understand, and monitor everything. This is why a new business model is emerging for the very wealthy called a “Family Office.” The Family Office is a single business hired to oversee everything, usually under one roof, and usually costs a hundred thousand dollars or more. And for that money, the client gets a team with an estate attorney, financial advisor, accountant, and insurance agent at a minimum. Your estate attorney is going to look for titling and beneficiary issues to keep your estate out of probate, your financial advisor is going to make sure those accounts are earning the most they can, your accountant is going to review the tax implications of those growth and titling choices, and your insurance agent is going to ensure your assets are protected from disasters. One item being overlooked could cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes or missed profits, and those problems and opportunities are much less likely to be missed with these different professional viewpoints examining the situation together.

However, most people don’t have an extra hundred thousand dollars or more to hire this one team, so they end up coordinating their own professional on an ad hoc basis and hope everyone is independently getting everything right. Unfortunately, they usually aren’t getting everything right, or at least they are not maximizing outcomes by their professionals coordinating on your overall plan. In some cases, they don’t even have all of the core members of the team helping them out.

Enter the “Digital Family Office” with these different professionals consciously working together on an ongoing basis. This is the model our law office is adopting, and we have even added an mini-course to explain the concept and gather information so we can begin coordinating. This course is at www.ProfessionalsYouWorkWith.com waiting to review things with you. Here are more on the four or five core professionals needed on the team:

  • Estate Attorney. This is where my immediate team for the law office can help make sure your estate documents and assets are maximized to avoid problems in case you pass on or become incapacitated as well as avoid potential estate and other death taxes.
  • Financial Advisor: The financial advisor has the main job of growing and securing your investments and liquid assets. This ranges from individual retirement accounts, brokerage and mutual fund accounts, as well as other stocks and investments. Sometimes these professionals also handle life insurance and annuities, but some Digital Family Offices separate out these duties and there is a specific Life Insurance Agent on the team.
  • Accountant: Without proper prospective planning, taxes may end up becoming your largest single expense in retirement. This is why it is critical to have an accountant that coordinates with the other professionals to make sure your visit to your accountant isn’t just a once-a-year thing that only focuses on the taxes you owe now but adding their tax perspective for the coming years and even after passing on.
  • Insurance Agent: Again, there may be some overlap with a life insurance agent, but your home, auto, liability, long term care, and health insurance also needs to be coordinated with the rest of your life goals. This becomes especially important when reaching 65 and suddenly Medicare is in the picture.

Our office is starting today to coordinate this process for our clients, and, especially if you have a revocable living trust, you should be looking into this. So how do you get started? It’s a simple process:

  • Go to ProfessionalsYouWorkWith.com and create an account using your email address and creating your own password.
  • Go to the course The Digital Family Office and provide us information on you and the professionals you already work with (in the module “Identifying Your Professional Team” in the section “Assembling YOUR Team.”) Once you submit the questionnaire, you will also receive a coupon code to get 95% off the $197 Client Resource Center program for the first year, which also waives the $100 fee for your Annual Meeting.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the professionals listed since we will make recommendations for the team members you are missing.
  • We’ll begin reaching out to your current professionals to introduce ourselves and start the process.

So what is the downside? Well, nothing in life is really free, so we are charging the usual $100 Annual Review meeting fee for clients who aren’t subscribed to the Client Resource Center for the first year. The other professionals may have their own fees, but we’ll address those when we reach out to them so we can let you know prior to any meetings whether or not there are charges for their attendance.

Catching mistakes and seizing opportunities through a Digital Family Office can make all the difference in the world to you and your loved ones, and it is well worth your time looking into this. We look forward to working with you… and the other professionals looking out for you.

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