Independent Collaborative Advice

Independent Collaborative Advice Failure to Serve Effectively
The delivery of professional services is at a critical crossroads. Clients are often provided with advice that fails to be best-in-class and fails to integrate the client's ideas for their best life, lifestyle and legacy. With business succession and family wealth transfer failure rates at nearly 70% worldwide1, there is clearly a need to change the process in how professional services are delivered to a client.

Research on the subject of business succession, estate and wealth transfer indicates that the failures are not due to governing law or tax systems but rather because our future generations are not being adequately prepared for these inevitable events. In addition, the general professional community has failed to develop an effective way to discover what matters most to their clients prior to offering their solutions.

The professional community has now transitioned into an era of independent specialists working separately on behalf of clients. That is unfortunate. While specialization is beneficial, it leaves out the bigger picture issues of a client's dreams and purpose. It is rare in today's advisory environment to find professionals who collaborate together on the dynamic solutions critical to helping clients achieve the kinds of lives they have always dreamed about having.

This results in "piecemeal planning," which might provide a client with an accurate legal or tax structure, but ignores a greater and more important question: how does this fit together in the client's life and for the client's greatest benefit? All too often the opportunity for the best in effective planning is lost simply because the client has no fundamental understanding of where the actual solutions best fit into the whole of his/her life.

Collaboration is the Solution
As an independent advisor, this firm understands the benefits that are realized by employing a professional collaborative approach to planning. It has been proven over and over that the very best solutions for our clients are created by a professional team effort. Once a client's goals, wishes, dreams and their desired lifestyle needs are understood, all future planning is truly dynamic. The client's situation can then be analyzed by each team Member from his/her unique experience and expertise while keeping in mind the (client defined) best outcome. What results is a dynamic final plan that appropriately incorporates all professional recommendations and best meets the client's goals, objectives and lifestyle.

The real beauty of building strategic alliances for professional solutions is that existing advisory relationships do not necessarily need to be severed. If, for example, a client has a long standing association with a tax or legal professional, that relationship is honored and that professional is invited to be a part of the planning team. However, what must never be compromised is our planning focus to provide "best in class" solutions for the client. Therefore, it must be noted that fundamental to this process is that any professional serving the client not only gives their very best effort, but they must be willing to allow other professionals more qualified in different planning areas to make their recommendations as well. "Professional ego" is not welcomed nor is it effective for the client.

All team members working together with defined goals will always achieve the best outcome possible for the client whom they serve.

The Planning Process
Planning from this counseling perspective requires a clear understanding of client goals and objectives. The process should begin with an in-depth audit of the client's current situation and a look at upcoming events and potential threats. A known inheritance or major tax event or, perhaps, upcoming educational expenses for children are examples. Reviewing prior generations and exploring issues that may affect future family generations may also impact the planning that is underway. It is always important that legacy and lifestyle planning be included to ensure that family values and wisdom are conveyed to future generations.

Once all the information is gathered and documented, a coaching model is created to understand what matters most to each individual involved, including all immediate family members and any business partners. Client education is also often employed and may include workshops, books and one-on-one consultations.

The next step is to put in writing a clear picture of the client's goals, objectives and lifestyle needs. After review, these are approved and committed to by the client and the professional team. The collaborative process to fashion an effective plan design now begins. This is when professional collaboration shines on behalf of the client and the best possible solutions encased in a well thought out and effective plan structure are presented.

After the plan design receives client approval, the individual team professionals begin creating the appropriate documentation and arrange the steps for implementation. When these are complete, the client implements the plan solutions with the respective team members and any identified outside providers. The final step is then put into place: a well-defined maintenance plan to ensure the proper operation of each solution. This includes on-going education and guidance if changes to the economy, tax law or even client objectives were to occur.

Professional Collaborative Teams
A professional collaborative team which works for your benefit in a strategic alliance will include some or all the following members. (Not in any particular order of leadership)
  • CPA
  • Attorney
  • Tax Planner
  • Estate Planner
  • Financial Planner
  • Investment Advisor
  • Insurance Professional
  • Asset Protection Specialist
  • Family Psychologist
  • Lifestyle Planner
  • & other professionals from specialized fields as required.
The critical key to successful collaboration and providing clients with the best outcome is the creation of timelines, personnel charts, and accountability models that keep all planning, all advisors and the client on schedule.

It is also important to note that some professionals will offer services in several of the areas listed. It is our position that overlapping services should be limited and that the choices for those overlaps must be left to the client. This eliminates the potential for conflicts of interest.

Independent collaborative advisors working together towards a common goal provides best-in-class solutions to complex estate, wealth, tax, business, and family issues. Through effective implementation of professional advice, under the guidance of one key advisor, our clients are given the best possible chance at living the life they've always dreamed of achieving while passing on their legacy to future generations.