A Checklist for Building your Team of Special Needs Experts

Posted by Patricia Manko on Tue, Mar 06, 2012 @ 03:37 PM

describe the imageIt's so important to work with advisors who can help you to think about the vision you have for your child and begin to build a plan that will support them both during your lifetime and well after you are gone. Building your family's special needs planning team of experts should include a financial planner, estate planning attorney and accountant. If possible it should include conversations with current and/or future trustees, guardians, caretakers, and any other person involved in your child's life.

Since we believe that finding the right people for your team is so important, we have dedicated this issue to providing tips on how to select a financial planner and how to locate a qualified disability law attorney. Below you will find a Checklist for Finding a Financial Planner, a tool for interviewing. The answers can help you determine who is the right person for your team of experts.

Checklist for Finding a Qualified Special Needs Financial Planner

1. Do you have experience in providing advice on Special Needs Financial Planning? If yes, indicate the number of years.

2. How did you get involved in Special Needs Financial Planning as a profession?

3. Do you know the difference between SSI and SSDI? If yes, how does this pertain to my situation?

4. Can you explain the concepts of a Special Needs Trust and the principles behind its purpose? How would this help me in my planning?

5. How long have you been offering financial planning advice to clients?Less than one year

  • One to four years
  • Five to 10 years
  • More than 10 years

6.Briefly describe your work history.

7. What are your educational qualifications?

8. What professional financial planning designation(s) or certification(s) do you hold?

  • Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Other

9. What financial planning continuing education requirements do you fulfill?

10. Are you or your firm licensed as a Registered Investment Adviser? Will you provide me with your disclosure document Form ADV Part II or its state equivalent?

  • Yes.
  • No. If no, why not?

11. How are you paid for your services? Fee

  • Commission
  • Fee and Commission
  • Salary
  • Other

12. What do you typically charge?

A) Fee:Hourly Rate $___________

  • Flat Fee (range) $__________ to $_____________
  • Percentage of assets under management __________ percent

B) Commission: ________________________________

13. A) Are you affiliated with any company whose products or services you are recommending?

  • Yes
  • No


B) Is any of your compensation based on selling products?

  • Yes
  • No


14. Do you have an affiliation with a broker/dealer?

  • Yes
  • No

If yes, name of broker/dealer________________________

If no, why not?

16. Can you provide 3 families as a reference that you have provided Special Needs Financial Planning advice to? May I contact them?

17. Can you provide 3 other professionals in the disability community as a reference? May I contact them?

SOURCE: Obtained from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. website at www.cfp.org. Modified for use with special needs clients in "The Special Needs Planning Guide: How to Prepare for Every Stage of Your Child's Life" by John W. Nadworny, CFP® and Cynthia R. Haddad, CFP®, Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2007 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc., April 2007.

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning, financial planning

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