The later stages of life often bring two considerations: planning for retirement and planning for death or other calamities.

The prospect can be daunting. Retirement plans. Insurance. Tax strategies. Asset protection. Elder care. Long-term care.

The hard work often starts with one question: a financial adviser or an estate planning attorney?

How about both?

Financial Advisers

Financial advisers analyze your current financial situation, identify financial goals and develop strategies to reach those goals. They specialize in wealth management and advise on strategies involving financial products and tax benefits.

Among the services they likely provide:

  • Portfolio review and investment strategy
  • Individual retirement planning
  • Company retirement plan review and advice
  • Insurance policy review and recommendations
  • College planning and finance
  • Advice regarding estate planning

Estate Planning Attorneys

While financial advisers help you maximize your assets, they cannot provide legal advice or offer legal solutions, including document drafting and benefits application assistance. Estate planning attorneys help protect those assets, offer tax saving strategies, prepare planning documents to safeguard your wishes and assist with the necessary funding and implementation steps for the plan to work properly. When added to your planning team, they will handle the heavy lifting to ensure your financial goals are met.

Among the services they provide:

  • Draft wills, trusts and other important legal documents
  • Establish health care directives
  • Set up powers of attorney
  • Develop and implement tax strategies
  • Devise strategies to reduce probate costs

Building Your Team

You might not think you need a financial adviser and an estate planning attorney, especially if you don’t have a great deal of wealth or children.

But whether you are a high wealth individual or have limited resources, you may need help stretching those resources for a comfortable retirement. Planning for death or a health crisis touches everyone.

Is there cross over? Sure, both financial advisers and estate planners can advise against risky investments and caution vulnerable adults against current financial scams. But more often, their services complement each other rather than overlap. For example, a financial adviser cannot create a will, trust or other legal document and an attorney cannot provide investment advice.

So, you’ll need both to succeed. Engaging both will provide extra assurance because you’ll have two sets of eyes watching over your finances and estate.

The key is communication. Remember, you serve as captain of your team. Make sure you are communicating necessary information to both parties, not just what you think they might need. Make sure your team is communicating with each other and sharing information. If needed, plan a joint meeting each year to ensure everyone is in sync.

Your peace of mind is worth investment. Turn to trusted, experienced and knowledgeable resources to secure your future.

Harris Beach’s Wills, Trusts and Estates team can help with your estate planning needs. If you have questions about this subject or related matters, please reach out to attorney Judy N. Cuzzacrea Wagner at (716) 200-5157 and, attorney Lisa M. Powers at (585) 419-8869 and, or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you most frequently work.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.