We can bring in a myriad of new experts to the working group with specialized skills that are applicable to a complex client challenge. Unlike some firms, we enjoy collaborating with outside experts. We learn from their experiences and from their unique perspective on the planning discipline. Because of our experience and vast network of experts, we can bring valuable resources to almost planning challenge that comes across our desks.
The first step of in our planning process is to learn as much as possible about you and your client situation. We will collect substantial amounts of data, financial information, legal documentation and tax returns from you to pinpoint the most important issues and pain points you and your clients are facing. The goal is to construct a plan that perfectly fits your client and ensures a successful outcome.
Following our comprehensive Discovery Process, you will receive a plan design book that clearly explains the solutions being recommended by the planning team and a timetable for implementing those solutions on behalf of your clients.
The next step in the process is to implement the plan. This typically involves legal work, financial work, accounting work and insurance work. At this stage, we may bring in other specialists from our network to lend their unique expertise to the client case.
MAINTAIN & MONITOR
We have seen several plans completely unravel after a divorce or the death of the client. The tax costs associated with these plan failures can be significant and there will likely be numerous claims against the advisors involved. The problem wasn’t with the plans themselves—the plans just weren’t properly maintained. Every plan should be reviewed thoroughly at least once each year. If nothing else make sure:
- Plan numbers are re-run.
- Balance sheets and cash values are updated.
- Plan documents are reviewed for compliance and for continued suitability.
- Funding is updated.
- Actions of the plan participants are reviewed to ensure against inadvertent errors.
- Tax returns are reviewed (preferably before filing) to ensure they are consistent with the plan itself.
In practice, most plans do not undergo such thorough review and maintenance. Isn’t it worth it to spend a little time updating your clients’ plans to avoid millions in taxes and litigation costs?