Lou S. from Bakersfield, CA asks: Does Zacks Investment Management offer any financial planning services? I’m hoping to use the summer months to get my estate plan in order, taking care of a few things like getting a will and trusts set up, etc…

Mitch’s Response: Zacks Investment Management focuses all of our resources on the investment process – building and managing investment strategies for our clients to reach their long-term financial goals. Though what we do is very closely intertwined with estate and financial planning, we do not offer those kinds of legal or tax services specifically.

You will find, however, that as you go forward with the process of setting up wills and trusts, you will be tasked with assigning beneficiaries and/or trustees to your investment and savings accounts, which are accounts that should be managed by a professional. That’s where we would come in. It is important to note that the financial planner or company that handles your estate and tax planning does not necessarily have to be the entity that is managing your assets. The two processes (estate planning and investment management) can and should, in my opinion, be handled by two separate entities.

That being said, there are a few important estate planning items that happen at the investment manager level. The most important of which is assigning beneficiaries. For rollover IRAs, 401(k) plans, IRAs, Roth IRAs, and a few other types of accounts, the beneficiaries you assign to the account actually play a more important role than what is written in your will. In other words, an executor of an estate will distribute your assets to beneficiaries even if your will says something different. So, it is important to review and update the beneficiaries on your investment accounts regularly – at least once a year I’d say. Zacks Investment Management can review your beneficiaries with you at any time, just give us a call and we’ll walk you through it – 1-888-600-2783.

Our view is that we here at Zacks Investment Management want to focus on what we’re good at, and pour all of our resources into being the best asset manager we can possibly be. We think estate planners should do the same, and that the two processes should be handled by two sets of professionals. That being said, we are happy to work with your estate planner and/or tax attorney to set up your investment accounts as they see fit. From there, we handle managing and growing the money.

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