5 Tips on How to Handle Sudden Wealth

Whether you just signed a multi-million dollar contract or inherited property from a wealthy relative, here are some tips to help you keep—and grow—your wealth responsibly

  • 2. Assemble your team of professionals. You can start your search for competent professionals in a number of places, including asking friends for referrals or asking other professionals like your accountant or tax preparer—or even family members. However, you should vet all of these individuals by understanding their professional and disciplinary backgrounds, get to know something about their practice (i.e. wealth and complexity of current clients) and ask for references to similar clients or cases they have dealt with. Next, you must check their background. There is no reason to leave out this important step since it is free and easy. Your state bar association can provide disciplinary information on attorneys, the state board of accountancy can provide information on accountants, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can offer any disciplinary information on investment professionals.
  • You can also search the professional’s name on your state’s financial and insurance regulator’s website. Combine this with research on the websites of their professional organization like the CFP Board for financial planners and the AICPA for CPAs where you can learn about violations of each organizations standards of conduct. Also, research their name and corporate identifier at the county clerk’s website to learn about liens, foreclosures or judgments. Last but not least, a Google (or other search engine) search of their name and business name and name of partners can help give you a picture of this person as a professional. Be sure to review any papers you sign with accountants, and be very clear on fees. It’s best that everyone be paid on a project or hourly rate in the initial stages when plans are being crafted. If someone tells you the work is free, you can be sure that it is not free, and that they are getting paid some other way which they are not disclosing.
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