Harvey A. Hutchinson, III, CFP joined PNC’s Wealth Management group in September 2012 as a Senior Wealth Strategist for the state of Alabama. Harvey provides advice on complex estate, business transition, and other wealth planning issues. He has a high level of technical expertise in estate, tax and wealth planning issues. Harvey works with a team of specialists in investment management, trust and banking services to help clients achieve their financial objectives.
Prior to joining PNC, Harvey worked with a multi-family office. He was responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive financial, tax, estate, business, and family strategies. Prior to serving as a Wealth Strategist, Harvey practiced law with an emphasis in estate planning and estate & trust administration. Harvey holds the following certifications, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, and Accredited Estate Planner.
Question and Answer with Harvey A. Hutchinson, III, CFP, Wealth Strategist
Q: Which types of firms or strategic partners should I involve in my estate planning process?
A: Not all CPAs, attorneys, financial planners, insurance agents, trust officers, investment advisers, and wealth advisers are experienced in estate planning. The criteria mentioned for finding the best estate planning attorney can apply to finding the client’s other advisers. For example, the leading credential for a financial planner to possess is Certified Financial Planner, administered by the CFP Board of Standards. Like the NAEPC mentioned previously, the CFP Board continuously monitors the experience and education of its members and requires its members to abide by high ethical standards that are actively enforced through an investigative and disciplinary process. Common professional certifications among the other team members include Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA). Among the client’s team of advisers, someone with experience handling estate planning matters outside the client’s state may be beneficial, too. For example, a theme within estate planning is asset protection, or preserving the client’s assets from creditor claims and lawsuits both currently and upon future distribution to heirs. Many states have enacted laws that provide enhanced protections to assets owned by trusts that are located in the state. For the client to benefit from a wider variety of planning options, it may be worthwhile to have an adviser on the team with broad based experience and unique strategy offerings.
Q: What are some of the key things to keep in mind when developing an estate plan?
A: With some coordination among the client’s team of advisers, a thorough review of the ownership of the client’s assets must take place. Legal counsel most likely will educate the client on the effects titling will have on the transfer of assets. For example, payable-on-death accounts or transfer-on-death accounts will direct a financial institution as to who owns the account’s assets after the owner’s death. Many clients are unaware that contract law and real estate law may take precedent over a valid last will and testament as to the final distribution of certain assets. This illustrates the importance of coordinating multiple activities, among multiple advisers, to achieve the client’s ultimate objective. In addition, a topic of much discussion lately pertains to the rights service providers, fiduciaries and heirs have in the intangible property – such as photographs, videos, text messages, emails, etc. – of a decedent located on such popular platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc. Many states are enacting legislation to give formally appointed fiduciaries full access to the decedent’s accounts that store such intangible property. Of all the assets a person possesses, these intangible assets may very well be the most cherished by a decedent’s surviving family and friends. Therefore, a good estate plan needs to address this issue fully.
Q: What is a question individuals and families should be asking their advisers about their estate plan, but often don’t?
A: Will you keep me informed of estate planning law and strategy changes that may affect my plan? Some state bar organizations hold the position that a lawyer does not have a continuing duty to keep their former estate planning clients informed of changes in the law. The bar association reasons the client’s legal matter has ended upon the proper execution of the estate planning documents and the completion of ancillary matters thereto. However, many bar organizations state a lawyer’s actions of keeping their former clients informed of changes in estate planning law is good business practice. Nevertheless, this question should be asked of all the client’s professional advisers to ensure the client’s estate plan remains effective and efficient.
Q: How should I incorporate my estate plan into my overall financial plan?
A: The estate plan is only one part of a comprehensive plan for the client and his or her family. In additional to an estate plan, the client should have an established plan that guides other aspects of the client’s life such as a financial plan, an investment plan, a retirement plan, a philanthropic plan, an education plan for children or grandchildren, a family legacy plan, a business succession plan for business owners, etc. It takes coordination among the client’s multiple advisers – lawyer, accountant, investment adviser, financial planner, and insurance agent – to develop the best comprehensive plan for the client and his or her family.
Q: How can I use gifting and philanthropy in my estate plan?
A: Charitable giving and philanthropy do not necessarily have the same meaning. In the simplest form, both charitable giving and philanthropy have the client giving something of value – such as time or possessions – to another person or supporting organization. However, the intentionality of the two actions of giving is quite different. Charitable giving may be best defined as the knee-jerk reaction of giving to a person or cause upon solicitation. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is more purposeful in thought and action. For example, if a client’s employer approaches the client seeking their support for a charitable campaign, the client may reach into his or her wallet and hand the employer some money and never think again about the charity or the money given. However, if the client is passionate about a particular organization due to their personal connection to the cause the organization is promoting, then the client is more engaged and willing to devote substantially more time and resources to it. Philanthropy focuses the client’s time and possessions toward a limited number of organizations. Once the estate planning team becomes aware of the client’s philanthropic interests, multiple estate planning strategies can be developed that could provide current or future income streams to the family, avoid recognition of capital gains taxes on the sale of appreciated property, and benefit the client’s philanthropic organizations either now or in the future.
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