A Multidisciplinary Approach to Wealth, Tax & Estate Planning

If you or a loved one were facing a severe healthcare issue, would you take a single approach to treatment or would you consult with a variety of experts to determine your options? Wouldn’t you ultimately want a multi-pronged plan to achieve the best possible treatment?

Similarly, your financial life should be approached from a multidisciplinary perspective using experts to provide advice on a variety of issues that can optimize the potential results of your financial and investment planning.

Seeking advice from professionals with expertise in legal issues, accounting, taxation, investments, insurance, and even interpersonal relationships will help you to look at considerations and give you a broader view of your financial situation and possibilities.

Creating Your Advisor Circle  

Step one is pulling together all the names of the experts in your “personal advisor circle.” While in hospital, the entire team might be at your bedside. But in the case of multidisciplinary financial and wealth planning, these conversations typically happen independently. In my role as a wealth advisor, I often help clients coordinate these activities. (For a more detailed understanding of how a multidisciplinary approach to the sale of a family business works, see my book, “On the Shoulders of Atlas, a story about transitioning a family-owned business.”

In some cases your evolving financial situation may require a change in the makeup of the team. The accountant whose office was in the same plaza as your first store might have done a fine job at that point, but now that you have a dozen franchises and are considering cross-border expansion, you will need specialized accounting advice.  

Your accountant will also be the one focused on the tax implications of all your assets including family businesses, recreational properties, stocks, registered retirement plans to ensure everything is structured in the most tax-efficient manner. If you’re working with a corporate or personal banker you’ll ask want to seek their input as well.

Legal issues may require a number of different specialists to weigh in. For example, a lawyer who handled your real estate transaction is not necessarily going to be the right person to handle your will preparation and estate plan. An experienced wealth advisor can call upon a network of contacts to help fill any vacancies in your advisor circle. (See also my earlier post, “Effective Estate Planning Through Family Meetings.”) 

Finally, discussing estate and succession plans with your family can be a difficult topic to broach, and filled with emotion. An advisor with family enterprise training can help you navigate these potentially treacherous waters.

Collaboration Pays Off

Having all your trusted advisors working collaboratively for a thorough understanding of your needs and goals is essential to ensure you meet them. Your wealth advisor can help you develop a multidisciplinary charter that outlines each individual’s roles and responsibilities, and act as the lead coordinating all the discussions.

If any one piece of the puzzle is missing it can be costly. But by taking a multidisciplinary approach to get these details in place, your wealth advisor can ensure a healthy prognosis for your assets and legacy.