Working With Other Advisors During The Charitable Giving Process

There are a lot of legal documents that are needed when developing a charitable giving plan for a client, so as a matter of course other advisors are involved in the process.

Many agents who find themselves working with a clients accountant or attorney tend to think of them as “deal killers,” but this doesnt have to be the case. Developing good relationships with your clients other advisors is a critical part of the planning process, says Gary Rathbun, president of Private Wealth Consultants, Toledo, Ohio.

“Ive seen too many situations where planners will try to leave the attorney out or avoid the attorney,” he explains. “If you ignore the attorney, he will become a deal killer, and he should be. Its just not proper to do that kind of planning for people without their other advisors involved.”

When working with a clients attorney, Rathbun will bring him in very early in the process and provide him with great deal of information. Rathbun goes over every step in the charitable planning process with the attorney and then lets the attorney “be the quarterback and take all the glory.”

When working on a charitable plan for a more affluent client, all the clients other advisors are involved, adds Michael Brink, a planner with Nease, Lagana, Eden & Culley Inc., Atlanta, Ga. In many cases, hell be working with a clients attorney, accountant and investment advisor all at once.

“Each advisor needs to respect the expertise and experience of the other advisors,” he says.

But in some situations, there is not always a good relationship between an agents client and his other advisors, adds Ed Philips, president of Philips-Cox Insurance Services in Virginia Beach, Va. When Philips encounters a situation where his clients attorney “isnt really knowledgeable about his client, Ill recommend another attorney.”

–Barry Higgins


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 26, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.