Wealth Planning: Proactive And Comprehensive Advice

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PNC Wealth Management® Relationship Strategist, Heather Baker, explains the importance PNC places on financial planning and the key role the Wealth Strategist plays in her client’s relationships. “From the day you choose PNC to help you manage your wealth, an experienced wealth strategist such as Harvey Hutchinson, is available to assist you with your financial goals and personal aspirations. At PNC, we believe that wealth planning is so fundamental to providing you with advice that we have integrated it into how we deliver wealth management,” explains Baker. “If you already have plans in place, we can review them in light of changing financial circumstances and tax laws. If you are like so many who, because of the complexity and time involved, have not given retirement, estate, and other financial planning issues regular attention, Harvey can work with you and your other professional advisors to frame the issues and solutions to meet your goals and priorities.”

Harvey Hutchinson joined PNC Wealth Management in September 2012 as the Senior Wealth Strategist for the state of Alabama. He has a high level of knowledge in estate, tax and wealth planning issues. Prior to joining PNC, Harvey worked with a multifamily office where 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 and trust administration. Harvey holds the following certifications: Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist®, and Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.

Question and Answer with Harvey A. Hutchinson, III, CFP®,Wealth Strategist

Q: I didn’t get a jumpstart on estate planning and now I feel behind. What are the most critical things I should address to craft a proper plan?

A: Hiring a team of professionals to develop a client’s comprehensive plan is absolutely critical. If the client is looking to address the estate planning portion initially, then he or she needs to hire an experienced attorney that focuses a good portion of his or her time in estate planning. Search the state bar’s website at alabar.org and other online resources to discover which attorneys in the client’s city practice in estate planning. To help narrow the possible candidates, the client should look for the candidate whose activities further advance the field of estate planning. For example, does the candidate speak regularly on the topic of estate planning to other attorneys or Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in continuing education seminars? Also, does the candidate hold professional designations such as EPLS (Estate Planning Law Specialist) or AEP® (Accredited Estate Planner®) that are bestowed by reputable third-party organizations that verify the candidate’s experience, education and commitment to continuing education? Furthermore, is the candidate a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, which is arguably the most esteemed association of trust and estate lawyers in the nation? Lastly, does the candidate further advance the field of estate planning by participating as a member, director or officer of a local chapter of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC)? The attorney who possesses the above credentials and experience, along with having a solid professional reputation in the community, should be a leading candidate for the client to hire to address the estate plan issue.

Q: What types of questions should I ask when I try to choose a firm/professional to help with my estate plan?

A: Two prominent financial planning organizations have created material to assist the public in selecting a professional to address personal financial matters, such as estate planning. First, the CFP Board of Standards’, “How to Choose a Financial Advisor,” lists ten questions to ask a prospective financial planner. Of the ten listed questions, the following questions may help answer whether the prospective professional can assist with an individual’s estate plan: 1) What services do you offer? (i.e., it is common to have a professional routinely work in the areas of estate planning, business law, tax law, etc.; however, it is not common for a litigation firm (e.g., personal injury, criminal defense, etc.) to also practice in the area of estate planning), 2) What is your approach to estate planning? (i.e., a collaborative approach with all of a client’s professional advisors is preferable to an exclusive approach where the one professional will take care of the entire estate plan without the involvement of others), 3) Do others stand to gain from the estate planning advice you give? (i.e., be on guard against situations where the prospective estate planning professional requires the employment of their selected outside ancillary professionals to complete an overall plan), and 4) Have you ever been disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your career? (i.e., the answer sought is “No;” however, verify the prospective professional’s response with the regulatory bodies that the professional must register with and obey). Secondly, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’, “How to Find Your Financial Advisor,” lists five steps to take when choosing a prospective advisor. The steps that should be taken when selecting an estate planner include: 1) Select several advisors to review, 2) Examine all the external information about the initial advisors selected on the list to narrow the prospects to a more manageable “shortlist,” 3) Set a time to meet the short-list of prospective advisors, and 4) Select an advisor and monitor the relationship closely to ensure the advisor meets (and hopefully exceeds) the established expectation.

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