If you’re putting together a team of people to help you with your financial needs, you might want to consider adding an attorney to the mix. Not only can lawyers help investors resolve problems with their investment professionals, but they also can help with estate planning and other investment-related issues. Here’s what you need to know.
Who They Are
A lawyer is licensed to give legal advice to clients. Lawyers are trained to tell you about the legal impact one financial planning or investment decision might have on another—such as the tax implications of setting up a certain type of trust for your estate.
Who Regulates Them
Each state has its own rules that govern whether and under what circumstances a person can practice law. In some states, the courts handle the licensing process. In other states, the legislature sets the rules. Lawyers generally must pass a comprehensive examination—called the bar exam—and meet other requirements before they can be admitted to the practice of law. Although it does not regulate lawyers, the American Bar Association can help you find out whether a lawyer is licensed in your state. Similarly, though not a regulator, the Public Investors Advocate Bar Association can help you find a lawyer who represents investors in disputes with the securities industry.
What They Offer
As with other professionals, the range of services lawyers can provide will vary greatly from individual to individual. For example, if one of your financial goals is leaving your assets to particular people or organizations, you’ll want to work with a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. A lawyer might also be contacted in the event an investor has a problem with a registered financial professional or brokerage firm and is considering arbitration or mediation.
Learn more about working with an investment professional.