Sunday, September 6, 2009, PM | 1 Comment
There have been so many reports of consumers being scammed by tax professional advisers. Be very careful in choosing a professional. Here I describe some criteria how to select a professional tax adviser or attorney. Take as much precaution as you would choosing your or your kids doctor.
This is arguably the most important of all criteria. Ask your friends, family members and colleagues for referrals. For additional help, ask your present tax adviser – if you have one – for referrals.
Choose a local law firm
And the reason is state laws surrounding property rights, probate laws, intestacy and contracts can figure heavily into your estate plan. Your estate can encompass more than one state. If your local law firm has offices in your estate states, that’s for the better.
Plan on meeting face-to-face
The time you spend talking can help you decide whether the professional considers you a valued customer and whether you have good chemistry, an essential to developing a close working relationship that can last for years – even decades.
Look for professionals with broad business practice
The professionals should have enough specialization to meet your unique needs.
Avoid doing business without pre-determined compensation
Tax advisers and lawyers typically quote an hourly fee, a fee for specific services, or some combination of the two.
Professional education and experience
They should provide that along with any continuing education or accreditation they have sought to become specialists in estate planning.
Be wary of the professional who starts with the solution
A good professional will typically start with probing questions that go beyond your net worth and the age of your children.
In a Nutshell
It is said that a tax professional must ask questions and a lot of questions about your finances and your assets. The more questions a professional asks – and the more time they are willing to spend getting to know your situation – the better the advice you are likely to get in your working relationship. Also, read my previous article about finding a good tax preparer.