December 12, 2012 (slightly modified April 21, 2018)
BY: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Here’s my position on professional representation. I view professionals as chess pieces that are specifically retained to perform a particular job and to perform it well (professional competency). You can hire a professional in so many different areas ranging from business to health that is has become daunting: medicine, law, accounting, marketing, private money management, finance, consulting, search engine optimization, social media marketing, fitness, health, etc. There is no end.
Professional representation has evolved into highly specialized niche areas, especially in the information age. No longer can one person truly practice in all areas of a profession. You cannot afford to be treated by a general medical practitioner anymore than you can expect one attorney to handle all of your needs. It’s equally impractical to balance twenty professionals with each representing a different area of importance. So where does this leave us?
What you need from your professionals, and what you should come to expect, is for them to seamlessly work together as a team to represent your best interests as efficiently and effectively as possible. This holistic approach serves all parties involved better. Clients or patients receive better quality representation from professionals in complementary areas working together as a team to address a wider array of needs. Efficiency of your time and resources is maximized because meetings and consultations are minimized, especially when circumstances change and additional rounds of consultations are necessary.
Now let’s take it a step further. You don’t just want a professional to perform a particular job. You want someone who makes satisfying your needs their priority; someone that puts your first; someone that you can count on to be looking out for your interests beyond the closing of the deal or signing the paperwork. Imagine having that professional on your side, and then imagine him/her working with other like-minded professionals with significant overlap to tend to your needs.
With regard to estate planning, there exists tremendous overlap with professionals such as financial planners and CPAs in many ways. The investment and asset protection vehicles and estate and gift tax planning strategies and techniques synergize very well. For example, life insurance can be an excellent conservative investment, serve as an asset protection vehicle and help achieve your estate planning and wealth transfer objectives. Annuities and other creditor exempt assets can be maximized using both a financial planner and estate planning attorney.
The same goes for protecting your business both now and in the future. Accountants should be integrated into your planning as well. A plan that involves one area to the exclusion of another is lacking an fundamentally important component part. Accountants and financial planners know it. We know it; and you know it. The problem is that so few professionals practice it.
Let me leave you with two closing thoughts: 1) expect more from your professionals; and 2) if your financial and accounting professionals do not stress the importance of estate planning, he/she cannot possibly have your best interest in mind beyond signing the paperwork.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose
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