OUR PROCESS

The purpose of our firm is to help build, protect and preserve capital. 
Our three-phase process is:
 
 
1.   Discovery
2.   Design
3.   Implementation
 
 
1. Discovery Phase:  This is how we start
 
When our advisors first meet with a prospective client, our mutual interest is discovering to what extent they can be of value in their financial life. To do this effectively, our advisors must:
 
     A. Past
 
          Review and analyze current legal documents, i.e. wills, trusts, family partnerships, marital   
          agreements, insurance contracts, business agreements. We also review financial       
          documents to learn the value of various holdings and how they are organized, i.e. limited
          partnerships, S-corporations, off-shore trusts and so on.
 
     B. Future
 
         Our advisors then meet with the clients to learn their objectives regarding their estate, both during  
         lifetime and in the event of death. In other words, they believe assets by themselves are meaningless; the
         objectives give form and direction to the asset planning.
 
     C. Present
 
         Our advisors then review the current situation in light of the objectives, and if what has been
         accomplished is in accord with the goals, then there is no point in their further involvement.
 
         However, in their experience, there are often large gaps in the planning, where certain
         objectives may not be achieved, and indeed prospective clients may be completely frustrated. For example, a
         client may have a living trust with extensive dispositive provisions, but has not transferred
         any assets to the trust; and upon further examination our advisors discover that all the assets are
         held in joint tenancy with the spouse. Thus the trust will dispose of nothing in the event of
         death.
 
     D. What Is Produced
 
         Our advisors then prepare a written outline, which sets forth the objectives and the issues. In the
         same outline they will describe all options to help accomplish the objectives. This document also
         sets forth their compensation. By this time they will have a firm idea of the amount of time
         necessary to design a plan, and will quote a fee to compensate for that. This is a firm fee,
         not open-ended (Our advisors' compensation is more fully detailed in a subsequent paragraph).
 
     E. End of Discovery          
 
         This ends the discovery phase, the completion of the outline described above. At this point
         there has been no charge for any services. A prospective client is free to terminate the process without
         obligation; or they may defer moving forward to a later date. However, if the prospective client
         wishes to proceed, an engagement letter would be signed by both parties, and they would advance us half of
         the fee, and our advisors go to work.
 
 
2. Design Phase:  Search for strategy
 
The design phase provides a detailed cost/benefit analysis of all options available to help achieve the objectives, reviewing the tax and practical advantages and disadvantages of each. This is meant to give a client sufficient data so that he/she can make informed judgments. At this point their attorney and CPA should become involved to review the planning options. However, the dialogue would be with the client until he/she has a working knowledge of the legal and tax complexities of what is being presented.
 
After an agreement is reached on the various options and recommendations, we are then at the conclusion of the design phase.
 
 
3. Implementation Phase
 
Implementation takes the form of legal transactions and product acquisition, which move down parallel paths. For example, a tax-exempt trust may be recommended to allow a transfer of appreciated assets, and sell them without a capital gain. The attorney will draft the trust while our advisors determine with the client the most appropriate asset allocation to invest the proceeds from the sale.
 
Thus, at the end of the implementation process all documents will be drawn and executed and financial products that need to be put in place will have been acquired.
 
 
4. Our Compensation
 
The fee arrangement for our design work was discussed earlier. In addition, the engagement agreement provides that compensation from implementation is derived from financial products. That is, if the plan calls for financial products, life insurance or investments, and if a client wishes to proceed, then the agreement is that we will represent him/her in acquiring those products, and will be compensated by the product supplier.  
 
We might make an observation about compensation, since the policy on this was established after considerable thought. We have observed that so-called “fee only” planners are primarily interested in generating a financial plan, often of substantial length and complexity. After that is done, however, the responsibility for moving the plan forward to implementation rests with the client; and thus many plans are not implemented because nobody is present to force the process through to completion.
 
On the other hand, planners compensated solely by commission tend to focus on product placement, failing which they will have labored for nothing.
 
Thus, we believe a balanced approach, where our advisors are compensated for the planning work, but also compensated for doing whatever is necessary to make sure the plan is implemented, gives the client the maximum service, since unimplemented plans are expensive in both time and money, but particularly costly in terms of lost opportunities.
 
As can be seen, this is a fairly lengthy process, if done properly. Our advisors' intent in doing this work is to establish a client relationship, not a one-time customer relationship. Thus, they review and update the planning at least on an annual basis or more often if there are substantial changes in the law or in a client’s personal affairs.   
 
Tax and legal services are not offered through, or supervised by Lincoln Investment, or Capital Analysts.