Don’t be all things to all peopleBlog added by Jim Katzaman on January 5, 2016
James Katzaman

Jim Katzaman

Glen Burnie, MD

Joined: February 10, 2014

There is much to be said for not being “a jack of all trades and master of none.”

Nowhere is this more important than when you deal with people’s money. What does a life insurance agent know about tax advice or estate planning? Why should you know that? You are far better off to focus on what you do know and then partner with professionals trained in related fields.

That’s because your clients turn to you for guided advice and entrust you with their financial well-being today and for generations to come. While a life insurance agent is expected to be knowledgeable in many areas, being an expert in every area just isn't realistic.

When you strengthen your professional network, you establish yourself as a quality resource and ensure that you provide your clients with a full-range of financial, accounting and legal advice to protect and grow their assets. Two key figures on your financial services team should be a board-certified estate planning attorney and a tax advisor or certified public accountant. CPA is the title of qualified accountants in the United States who have met examination, education and experience requirements to become certified to hold this designation. CPAs often focus on tax services and provide guidance with tax planning and preparing tax returns. Being that they're required to stay current on taxation issues and legislation, they can also help clients reduce their taxable income and take advantage of deductions that the average person may be unaware of.

A CPA’s expertise ensures that clients claim income, losses and deductions correctly, thereby avoiding issues with tax authorities. In addition to tax services, CPAs can also provide accounting services for your clients as individuals and business owners.

Although there can be some overlap in skills, you can now focus on your clients' needs for life and/or health insurances, personal financial planning, tax-free retirement, estate planning, college funding and business succession planning. The CPA is there to ensure the investment and financial vehicles are properly structured in accordance with tax laws and regulations. This way your clients will avoid unnecessary tax consequences and penalties.

Meanwhile, the estate planning attorney has specialized legal knowledge of wills, trusts and estates. Clients may seek advice regarding protection and distribution of assets, state and federal estate taxes and guardianship of minor children, among other things. An experienced attorney can work so such matters are handled in the most efficient, economical and private manner.

Estate planning is often thought of as putting together a will or trust agreement, but much more might be involved. While it includes management and disposition of one's assets through these tools, estate planning also includes financial, tax, medical and business planning in the event of one's mental incapacity or death. A properly designed estate plan uses the correct tools to ensure one's wishes concerning family, business and finances are carried out as they have decided.

As you learn about your clients' overall needs, what actions are you taking to build your team of experts that will help you better serve your clients? Having access to specialists protects you and your business. It also ensures your clients' assets are properly protected and distributed as they wish. There are many parts to the financial planning team; be certain your clients receive the best possible service by connecting with the specialists needed to assist with all of their planning needs.
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