Do You Need a Financial Planner for Estate Planning?

Estate planning can be a difficult task. While many people try to cut corners by doing paperwork themselves, the best way to handle estate planning is to enlist the help of a financial planner. Even if you have your estate planning documents in order, your goals may not be accomplished. Many objectives that work towards your estate planning goals are not clearly defined when you plan your estate without the help of a professional. Here are some important issues your financial planner can address to ensure your legal documents are drafted to implement your estate planning goals.

Unnecessary Death Tax

Dealing with unnecessary death tax can be trying. When you enlist the help of a financial planner, they will address one of the most important pieces of information when it comes to this topic. Is a married couple properly using a credit shelter trust? The estate death tax has an exclusion amount. When your assets exceed the exclusion amount, you must use a credit shelter trust. The unlimited marital deduction protects widowed spouses when assets are passed down to a spouse when the other passes away.

Working with a financial planner will help keep later generations of your family in mind. Financial planners sit down with clients early in life to plan out their estate. Although it might seem like a morbid topic, it is necessary to ensure your affairs are handled to your requests. Your financial planner will recognize potential asset challenges that come with death tax. They can then use a credit shelter trust to protect future generations of your family from dealing with huge tax disasters on the state and federal level.

Unnecessary Probate Costs

Dealing with probate is another area of estate planning that isn’t easy to navigate on your own. U.S. probate costs are calculated as a percentage of your assets. And they are calculated regardless of your liabilities. This can create unnecessary expenses for your heirs. One area of probate that is commonly an issue is the titling of non-retirement assets. When titled with a single name or joint tenancy, these assets will go through probate when the last account owner dies.

Financial planners understand the need to address these issues ahead of time. They will be able to point out potential titling problems and correct them to make sure assets are properly re-titled as they pass through generations. Your financial planner will likely pass this issue to an attorney who will draft a legal document called a revocable living trust.

Retirement Account Beneficiaries

When an estate plan is drafted, beneficiaries are often overlooked. While you may have listed a primary beneficiary, many people forego listing a secondary beneficiary. So, what happens if you and your primary beneficiary pass away simultaneously? If beneficiaries are not up to date, your assets are subject to probate. This could cost a pretty penny for your heirs.


There are five common types of beneficiaries used for retirement accounts. These are: spouses, children, charities, trusts, or non-family members. In estate planning, there are different rules for each group of beneficiaries. Subsequently, each group has a different strategy to reduce unnecessary costs and ensure your heirs are getting what they deserve without wasting a ton of time.

Out-of-State Assets

Laws vary from state to state. Financial planners can help ensure that all assets owned in another state have the proper legal documents to ensure they get to your beneficiaries in a timely manner. While your planner will not decipher laws of every state when estate planning, they will be able to identify problems and direct you to an estate-planning attorney that can ensure you are following the laws of each state.

Handling Attorney Fees

One of the best things about doing your estate planning through a financial planner is that they already have a strong, trusted partnership with estate planning attorneys. You want your estate plans to be drawn out and your finances to be secure as well. When financial planners and estate-planning attorneys work hand in hand with one another, you will benefit from the best financial success. When you hire a qualified, professional financial planner, they can refer you to an attorney they have a relationship with who will look out for your best interest.


Many people think they can handle estate planning on their own. While it is possible, you are more likely to meet your estate planning goals when you enlist professional help. An experienced financial planner can make sure you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s on the legal side of your estate planning. Death is inevitable, leaving your family in a financial nightmare is not. Talk to your financial planner today about setting an estate plan that helps meet your goals and leave your family financially sound.

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