McManus & Associates has developed a clear process for the preparation and completion of a client’s estate plan. At every step along the way, our team ensures that the client’s wishes and intent are fully integrated into the final product. The partnership begins with the initial conversation and continues throughout the professional relationship to include coordination with the client’s other professional financial relationships, recommendations concerning asset allocation, and more advanced planning.
Introduction to the relationship
A “gentle immersion” into the client’s dreams, worries, and expectations, evoking visceral and emotional responses rather than intellectual ones, getting to the heart as to what will make the client most satisfied with his or her decisions. Listen closely to the answer: What must occur in the coming years for the client to be “very pleased and excited” with their plan and their collaboration with McManus & Associates.
What are the family and financial details, which establish the foundation for the plan? Who are the client relationship’s loved ones? Who do they trust? Who should and who should not be beneficiaries of their wealth? What comprises the client relationship’s wealth? Is there expectation for significant additional accumulation? Where are the assets located? Is any portion of it located off shore? Will the plan be challenged by an unhappy disgruntled heir? Will the client relationship make wealth transfers “at this point” or “over the course” of its lifetime or only after death?
What are the “current greatest concerns” for the client relationship, including significant estate tax, attacks on assets, unintended beneficiaries, unexpected incapacity, or minor children without proper care and guidance? What are the opportunities to overcome these concerns? What plan will boldly address these concerns and protect against them?
Who are the other advisors and what is their role in the family? What new financial products are being incorporated into the wealth transfer plan? What financial assets need to be retitled after the plan is completed to address the mission of the plan?
Preparation of our peer-acclaimed initial drafts incorporating specifics gleaned from the information gathering throughout the process. Documents are reviewed by multiple members of the team and represent the initial effort to capture the client relationship’s total vision of the plan.
Coordination and planning for execution
Delivery of the drafts coupled with establishing a “short track” of scheduled meetings to review and revise the documents. No plan is effective “until the signature ink is dry.” No plan can be “inked” until it completely captures the client relationship’s intentions. It is through a steady commitment to review and revise the plan and its documents that this goal is achieved. High efficiency in the short-term completion of the plan is a hallmark of the firm’s reputation.
Review and revision of the wealth transfer plan and documentation
Consistent, steady explanation and review of the plan with the client relationship, evoking new ideas and thoughts along the way, addressing the current dangers, and the opportunities to resolve the dangers. Endeavoring, as efficiently and timely as possible, to achieve complete satisfaction in advance of the signing.
Execution and review of collaborative efforts
Plan is put into place, manifested by the execution of the documents. Scheduling post execution the asset allocation stage as soon thereafter as possible. Review of the firm’s collaborative efforts to date and completion of the McManus & Associates performance questionnaire to provide an interim review of client relationship’s satisfaction.
Post-execution asset allocation
Collaboration with client relationship and financial institutions to ensure that all client relationship’s assets are reflecting the mission and the plan executed. This may mean retitling the assets so that trusts created in the estate plan are properly funded to maximize estate tax savings and asset protection through the generations. Any other questions about how the documents work, the titling of financial assets, and the overall estate plan are answered, solidifying the foundation for a lifelong relationship that was begun in the initial meeting.
Lifetime relationship and advanced planning
The Wealth and Family Values Protection Process becomes a lifetime effort to address the then newest dangers of: changing estate tax laws, attacks on family assets, or changes in the dynamics among named beneficiaries and representatives. Advanced Planning to provide further protection and to more comprehensively address client relationship’s mission to “take the next step” in the protection process. Enlist a plan for regular follow-ups by the client relationship and McManus & Associates to maintain connection through the delivery of reminder checklists, annual reports by the firm, and scheduled follow-up calls.