Allied professionals are those individuals who have specific training and expertise in areas of accounting, finance, and the law, with respect to assisting individuals in the establishment of a comprehensive estate plan. For many, writing their first will may be the first time they’ve had to use such a professional, and often they are unsure of whom to call. As such, the Foundation’s Gift Coordinators are often asked for a recommendation. Unfortunately this is not as easy as it may seem.
Such a recommendation may place the Gift Coordinator into a position that others may perceive as being in a conflict of interest. Firstly, as these professionals charge a fee for the services they provide, it may be deemed inappropriate for a Gift Coordinator to direct business to a particular individual. To counter this, it’s recommended Gift Coordinators provide a minimum of three names, allowing the individual an opportunity to still make their own selection, and thus removing any opportunity for suspected collusion. However, given the large geographic area covered by each Gift Coordinator, having enough information and knowledge in order to make three strong recommendations becomes very difficult.
Secondly, there is a concern that even though a recommended allied professional might be suitable for one individual, they may not be suited for every individual. Such things as age, gender, race, and experience all factor into the decision of whom you would find most suitable or comfortable to discuss your estate plan concerns. Often there may be difficult family issues or other things that make your estate planning more complex.
Given these concerns, there are two recommended courses of action. Firstly, the best option is to talk to your friends and tell them you’re considering (re-)doing your will and you’re wondering if they could make a recommendation for someone to assist you. There’s nothing better than getting a direct recommendation from someone you feel you can trust.
The second option is a little more hit and miss. Every province has a law society to which lawyers must register. One of the services provided by the society, is to provide the names of lawyers with experience in the area of law needed by an individual. Simply call the law society’s office, explain your requirements, and they will provide you with three suitable names in your area, with their contact information. You are allowed to call each lawyer and request a free 30 minute consultation to determine which lawyer you prefer.