APPENDIX A Professional Advisers

Estate planning is full of intricate details, so you should consult a professional adviser rather than trying to do it yourself. Choosing the right adviser is vital to your financial well-being. To select the right adviser, consider the following:

  • Experience. Each adviser you choose should have significant experience in his or her field. We strongly believe that no professional adviser should have unsupervised client responsibility until they have apprenticed under an experienced adviser for a minimum of three to five years. Experience is the foundation of all competence.
  • Competence. Although having an advanced designation is no guarantee of competence, it is an indication of a commitment to staying on the leading edge in one's field. The following are designations worth noting. Each requires the completion of one or more competency examinations as well as ongoing continuing education:
    • Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®). To be a CFP certificant, you must meet education requirements, pass a rigorous national exam, complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, agree to abide by a strict code of ethics, and have three years of experience in the financial planning field. If you are seeking someone to help you with your overall financial game plan, you should seek out a CFP® certificant.
    • Certified Public Accountant (CPA). All CPAs must pass a series of national exams that test competency. CPAs must also complete 40 hours of continuing ...

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