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​Estate planning and financial planning help to protect your assets and plan for the future. Each process has a different purpose. Estate planning attorneys and financial planners have distinct roles and expertise — however the best design is when your estate plan and financial plan work together to achieve your important long-term goals.

A financial planner evaluates and collaborates with you to establish long-term financial goals, based on your needs and desires. A financial plan includes a strategy for managing and growing your wealth, as well as an analysis of your risk tolerance based on your circumstances.

Estate planning focuses on putting the proper legal documents in place to ensure implementation of your goals and wishes for the future, both for yourself and for your family. These documents address concerns that are different from your financial goals.

When you create a thorough, careful estate plan, you accomplish these important goals:

  • Minimize taxes and maintain personal and financial privacy of your estate after death.

  • Ensure that your assets and legacy benefit individuals of your choosing upon your death.

  • Determine whether your beneficiaries receive all your assets outright or whether a person you select manages and distributes those assets to your beneficiaries according to your directions.

  • Designate the people who will care for your children and manage their finances in the event you are not able to fulfill those responsibilities.

  • Designate individuals to provide personal care, decision making, and financial management, in the event you become unable to do so yourself.

  • Communicate your final wishes.


If you do not have an estate plan, state law determines who gets your property and makes your decisions if you become incapacitated. Your loved ones may need to ask a court to decide who makes the decisions and who receives your assets. Those people may not be the individuals you would choose.


Estate planning is a process that requires assistance from a licensed attorney. Your lawyer first talks in-depth with you about your concerns, goals, and wishes for your future and for your loved ones. Then, your attorney explains how specific legal documents address all those matters. If you decide to establish an estate plan, your lawyer creates documents tailored to your unique circumstances. The only way to make certain your estate plan is properly established — and does what you want it to do, both during your life and after — is to talk with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Although estate planning and financial planning are separate and distinct, both processes involve your financial assets. The two processes work together to accomplish your goals. For that reason, a great estate planning lawyer will work directly with your financial planner, and vice versa.

While not everyone needs or wants a financial plan, everyone should have an estate plan to avoid allowing state law to make their decisions. So logically, starting with your estate plan makes sense. But the truth is that it does not matter whether you start with estate planning or financial planning, it is just a matter of getting started.

By: Danielle M. Shyne, Attorney/Owner Shyne Law Group, PLLC.

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