Can You “Trust” Your Current Financial Advisor?

Will Your Advisor “Pass” the Trust Challenge™?

The polls indicate that most investors today are looking for a financial advisor who offers a comprehensive approach to helping them manage their finances. Consequently, many financial advisors are now offering “comprehensive wealth management” services. The natural question you must ask yourself… does my advisor “truly” offer a comprehensive service or are they just claiming to offer what most people are asking for?

How does an investor “know” if their financial advisor truly offers comprehensive wealth management or is merely claiming to offer these services? The answer is surprisingly simple... Have your current financial advisor (or anyone you are considering hiring) take the Trust Challenge™.

What is the Trust Challenge™?

The Trust Challenge™ is simply taking a printed copy of your current living trust document into the financial advisor’s office (unannounced) and placing it on the desk in front of the advisor.  Then you simply ask them to read the document (while you wait) and then explain to you how your current living trust document affects the money/assets they are managing on your behalf.  If they cannot review and understand your living trust and then “map out” how your investment assets are affected at your disability, at your death, at your spouse’s subsequent death as well as how your assets are distributed to your heirs… they arguably do not offer comprehensive wealth management services.

Please understand that your living trust is the foundation of your wealth planning.  If this primary planning document has problems, mistakes or missed opportunities… there is no “do over” once certain triggering events have occurred.  You owe it to yourself and your family to work with an advisor who is transparent about the services they actually provide.

The Key To The Trust Challenge™

You can have your advisor take the Trust Challenge™ at your next portfolio review meeting.  The “key” to the Trust Challenge™ is to NOT give your current advisor a “head’s up” that you want them to review your living trust for you.  Why is this important?  You don’t want your financial advisor to “get help” to understand how your current living trust affects the money they are managing.  Why would this matter?  The goal of the Trust Challenge™ is to gain insight into your advisor’s expertise in this critical area.  If they are “getting help” before your meeting and then sharing someone else’s insights and opinions on your trust, are they truly acting as a “comprehensive advisor” or more like a relationship manager?

Just like you wouldn’t want your architect to need help understanding structural requirements, basic plumbing or electrical concerns, or some other basic construction subject that is covered in their “blueprint” (i.e. the “plan”); you likewise want your financial advisor to have a personal in-depth understanding of estate planning and how the living trust and your other estate planning documents affect the money they are managing on your behalf.  This ability to act like an “architect” or comprehensive wealth strategist covering all aspects of your finances including estate & tax planning, insurance and investments is what many financial advisors claim to offer, yet fail to deliver. 

Click here to read more about the Trust Challenge™ in a reprint of Brad’s chapter, “Is Your Living Trust A Ticking Time Bomb?” (reprinted from this 2015 Amazon Best-Selling Book), which further details the Trust Challenge™ described above as well as introducing some of the common drafting problems found in today’s living trust documents or use the button below.

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