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When thinking about estate planning, you may not realize how much a financial advisor can be involved in the process.  Many financial advisors will not take you on as a client if you do not have your estate planning complete.  Why would financial advisors turn down new clients over that?  It is because they have too often seen what happens when one of their clients does not have estate planning documents in order.  The result – assets tied up in probate court, families not having access to funds, money getting disbursed to unintended people, etc. and often the financial advisor takes the blame for either bad planning or no planning having been done by the client.

If you are in the process of finding a new financial advisor, we would like to help to put you in the best position to make the best possible choices.  The fact is, no one will care as much about your money as you do.  However, by asking the appropriate questions, you too should be able to find a financial advisor who you can trust and who will have you and your family’s best interests in mind.

Top ten questions to ask a potential financial advisor:

  1. What financial planning services do you offer?
  2. Do you report a client-specific time-weighted return each quarter?
  3. What type of clients do you typically work with?
  4. How do you get paid?
  5. What is the chance my investments lose money?
  6. How often will you make trades in my account?
  7. Do you use a recognized third-party custodian to hold the assets?
  8. Do you get a commission on the assets you buy?
  9. Do you invest in the same assets you buy for your clients?
  10. Will you be the only financial planner working with me?

When it comes to your money, you can’t be too thorough with your research.  If you think you have chosen the wrong financial advisor who does not seem to be following their end of the agreement, do not be afraid to change!  Changing advisors is easy and for the most part your new financial advisor will do all the work at no extra charge.      

Having your financial planning set up is just another tier to your estate planning.  When dealing with advisors, there is no one correct person for everyone.  Take your time and make the best decision you can with the information in front of you.  Good luck in your search!