Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you require information before the free consultation? 

A: Our free consultations are very different than just sitting down with you and discussing your general questions. You have 2 options. You can complete our Planning Guide, which is an information gathering worksheet & return prior to your appointment in order for us to review and prepare appropriate analysis and reports. At the free consultation, we discuss your questions and concerns as well as potential problems and opportunities based on the analysis. Because we have reviewed your case ahead of time, we can review specifics in your case and recommended an appropriate custom plan if appropriate. As an alternative we can show you examples of our process and talk at the meeting or by phone whichever you are more comfortable.

Regardless, we also only recommend you use our services if we can see we can be of help to you and you can benefit from our planning process.

Q: How much are your planning services?

A: Our fees are affordable and customized. We determine our fees on a combination of your goals and needs and the amount of time we anticipate addressing your issues and complete your plan. We have hourly planning options if you need a little bit of help or help with specific issues or all-inclusive retainer fees that covers your plan from start to finish, step by step and include the plan analysis, recommendations and implementation. We are extremely thorough in our planning process and our clients receive substantial value and benefit from our services.

Q: How does The Estate Planning Team, Inc. work with my existing Advisors?

A: The Estate Planning Team, Inc. believes a coordinated effort between Advisors creates the best result for the client. Our planning process creates a cohesive plan so that all your Advisors are working together towards your financial goals. We work with your existing Advisors or we can recommend outside Advisors when needed. In some cases, our clients have the roll of the other advisor when they do their own investments.

Q: How are you different than what I can get from my investment Advisor?

A: Most investment Advisors claim to do retirement or estate planning but that is not true. Their recommendations lead directly to a product sales or investment. They are not comprehensive planners. In our free consultation, we show you an example of a customized, comprehensive plan. Most people are amazed at the level and detail in planning. Your investment advisor will probably show you a report that is 95% boilerplate. Even if a report shows you what problems exist, they do not show you want steps are needed to address the issues. How many times has your investment Advisor asked to see your tax return? They don’t ask. We ask for your tax information even in preparation for the free consultation.

We understand that tax planning is an integral part of planning. When a recommendation is made, we know the tax result today, in the future and at passage. How much time does your investment Advisor spend with you before a recommendation is given? Would your investment Advisor recommend you not investment more money or recommend you take more from your account to enhance your lifestyle? We do not make any recommendations to our clients until we have a thorough and detailed understanding of their short- and long-term goals both during lifetime and at passage and have analyzed their assets, income, expense and taxes. We understand that a good investment Advisor plays an important role in your financial life however they do not create comprehensive plans.

Q: What is maintenance planning?

A: Once you have formulated an initial plan, it is important to periodically review and/or update your plan to see if you are on track, ahead or behind your plan projection and then understand why to make proper adjustments. Also, since each tax year stands alone you may want to review and take advantage of opportunities & avoid traps in the complicated tax code to create the income your need as tax efficiently as possible. Our maintenance planning phase is a crucial part of an effective plan. We typically update our client's networth and reviewed their tax return each year and we review for any tax savings opportunities, potential problems and discuss other issues that may affect their plan. Maintaining your plan allows you to make adjustments along the way and ensures you are creating the best result. Our clients can choose to work with on an hourly or retainer fee for their maintenance. This is based on the individual needs of our client. Some people chose to meet several times a year where others meet once a year, or every other year depending on their circumstances and needs.