The Difference between Financial Planners and Estate Planning Attorneys


People often confuse the roles that financial planners and attorneys hold in the estate planning process. Each has distinct duties and a different set of responsibilities within the estate planning process. While financial planners can be useful when creating an estate plan, only an estate planning attorney can draft the actual estate planning documents that will put your plan into action.

What Does A Financial Planner Do For My Estate Plan?

A financial planner is a professional who works with their clients to determine a financial plan. They look at a person’s current financial situation and use a variety of investment and retirement planning strategies to help improve that situation in the future. In the context of estate planning, financial planners are useful because they are able to provide the raw materials with which an estate planning attorney builds your particular estate plan: a detailed accounting of a person’s complete financial portfolio.

What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?

Using a financial planner alone is not enough to create an estate plan. While it is helpful, for example, to have an accounting of the assets that you would like to pass down to your loved ones, this is not sufficient on its own. An estate planning attorney is needed to draft a set of legal documents that will ensure that these assets will be transferred as efficiently as possible. Together with an attorney, you can discuss your own goals, desires, and financial information and use this information to create a personalized plan to determine what will happen to your estate under various scenarios. Depending on your own particular situation, they may decide on creating a will, a trust, or both. Attorneys can create contingency plans, ensuring that no matter what happens, your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and your plans for your loved ones will be met.

Which One Should I Use?

An attorney who is not working with a full and accurate financial plan will be lacking the essential information necessary to be able to make the best possible decision for you and your loved ones. Likewise, a financial planner working alone may have a full understanding of your financial plans, but they will lack the ability to create the legal documents required to put these plans into action. In most cases, choosing an attorney and a financial planner should not be an either or decision. Though you could successfully draft estate planning documents using an estate planning attorney alone, you should use a financial planner in conjunction with an attorney for best results. Doing so will ensure that your attorney will have all of the information that they need to craft your estate planning documents and make sure that your plan is able to meet your needs as fully as possible.

We Can Help

At Bailey Law Firm, our estate planning attorneys are able to translate your personal and financial situation into a set of personalized estate planning documents that will ensure that your wishes are fulfilled and your loved ones are protected. If you would like to meet with our attorneys to discuss beginning an estate plan or modifying your existing estate planning documents, please contact us with any questions by clicking here or by calling our office at 832.510.2900 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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