Financial planners assist with maintaining and growing a client’s net worth, and the estate planning attorney assists with developing a plan for passing on that wealth to future generations and other beneficiaries. Financial planners often discuss estate planning needs with their clients and steer those clients to other estate planning attorneys that are within their referral network.
Certified Public Accountants
For attorneys without a background in accounting, having one or more accountants as part of a referral network can be an invaluable resource. Accountants may be necessary to provide advice and assist in the preparation of income, estate, and gift tax returns for individual clients and income tax returns for closely held businesses, estates, and trusts. Accountants often review tax issues in the context of estate planning with their clients and refer their clients to estate planning attorneys when the client is ready to proceed with addressing those issues.
Clients can have a multitude of insurance needs related to real property and estate planning. These needs can include (1) the need for life insurance for liquidity planning or as another investment for a client’s portfolio, (2) long-term care and disability insurance, (3) insurance for a client’s closely held business, and (4) residential and commercial real property insurance. Insurance agents are frequently in front of clients that need assistance with reviewing real property sales contracts or the preparation of estate planning documents in connection with their insurance needs.
Clients often name a corporate fiduciary to serve as an executor under a will or as a trustee of a trust. Generating contacts with one or more trust companies or banks can be a valuable resource if clients require suggestions about which corporate fiduciary should be named in a governing document. Establishing such relationships often leads to the corporate fiduciary passing new business to the attorney when estate planning is required for the fiduciary’s other clients.
Appraisers and Valuation Experts
Real property and trust and estate attorneys often require the use of appraisers and valuation experts to value a client’s assets. Whether it’s a piece of residential or commercial property that must be valued for sale, an appraisal of tangible personal property for estate tax purposes, or the valuation of a client’s interest in a closely held business, attorneys rely on valuation professionals to appropriately value such assets.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents representing buyers or sellers in the sale of residential or commercial property are often asked by clients for an attorney to review sale documents. Likewise, attorneys often have the need to list real property for sale on behalf of their clients. For example, real estate is often owned by an estate or trust that must be listed for sale by the executor or trustee.
Title Companies, Surveyors, and Environmental Specialists
Like real estate agents, a number of other specialized professions are involved in transactions for the sale of real estate on a regular basis. Developing contacts with title companies, surveyors, and environmental specialists is important when complex real property issues arise around the sale of real estate. These specialists can be good sources of referrals for attorneys to assist in resolving the legal issues.
Commercial lenders routinely provide financing for deals involving real estate and for closely held businesses. As these lenders are in front of potential clients on a regular basis, developing close relationships with one or more lenders may be a good idea for generating new business down the road. Clients often ask for contacts to these lenders, too, if the client is in need of financing for business deals.