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There are many options available to those seeking financial planning advice. There are national brokers and banks, small, local brokerages, credit unions and even web-based robot advisors that base advice on algorithms. Faced with so many options, a Maryland resident may be unsure about where to turn for financial advice for his or her estate plan

There are two different standards to which a financial advisor may adhere. The first is a fiduciary standard in which a planner is bound by law to make investments in the client's best interests. The second is the suitability standard in which a planner must only work toward meeting his or her client's goals. 

For those who need financial advice for an estate plan, the difference between the standards may be important. In fact, the importance is being addressed on the federal level. Last month, President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Labor will be examining a proposal that will require brokers who manage retirement funds to do so based on the fiduciary standard.

Many planners who work under the fiduciary standard claim that the two standards are not fair to clients who do not understand the difference. A Maryland resident who is seeking financial advice concerning his or her estate plan may find the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney to be beneficial. By retaining the services of a legal professional, one will also gain access to that attorney's network of professionals -- a network that will include experienced financial planners. 

Source: money.usnews.com, "Is Your Financial Advisor Working for You?", Kate Stalter, March 9, 2015

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