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10 tax questions every advisor should answer

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ed slottJust in time for the last minute tax push, I received a package in the mail last week from IRA guru Ed Slott. Inside the package was a 47-page booklet titled “Ed Slott’s Retirement Decisions Guide: 2011 Edition.”

The booklet is geared toward consumers and financial advisors, giving them “step-by-step strategies needed to build and protect a family fortune,” according to the press release that came with the package.

As I thumbed through the booklet, something on the inside back cover jumped out at me that can help advisors position themselves as the expert in the field and position them to win more business. The page is titled “10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor.”

I read over the page and made the immediate connection: If advisors read over these 10 questions and incorporate them into their practice, even present them to potential clients as proof of their expertise, well, as they used to say on Happy Days, “You’ve got it made in the shade.”

So, without further ado, here they are:

“10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor”

  1. I know this area requires specialized knowledge in IRA distribution planning. Do you have expertise in this area? How would I know that?
  2. What books have you read on the topic? Look at the books. If they crack when you open them …run. It’s the first time the book has been opened.
  3. What professional training do you take in IRA distribution planning? What courses or programs have you taken? Can you show me the last course manual you received?
  4. How do you stay current on key IRA tax laws? What services or resources do you rely on to stay up to date? Can you show me a sample?
  5. What is the latest IRA tax rule you are aware of? When did it occur?
  6. How do you determine the best option for my lump sum distribution? What are all of my choices?
  7. How would you keep track of my IRA beneficiary form? When should I update my IRA beneficiary form? What are the key events that would trigger a need for a review?
  8. Can you show me the IRS life expectancy tables?
  9. Do you know what will happen to my IRA after I die? How will you make sure that my beneficiary will get the stretch IRA?
  10. Who do YOU turn to when you have questions on IRA distribution planning? No one can know it all.