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It’s difficult to make the best decisions for your business or personal life if you don’t have enough — or the right — information. And how can you be certain the data you find through your own research applies to your situation? You can’t.
In many cases, it’s best to consult with qualified experts in areas that include real estate, finance, law, and business planning. These are people who have spent years acquiring knowledge, advising clients, honing their skills, and gaining experience.
They are highly qualified individuals whom others have grown to trust and rely on because they’ve demonstrated their value time and time again.
Whether you need insight regarding selling property, settling insurance claims, setting up your business for succession, planning for your heirs, or for personal wealth management, it’s essential to speak with suitable professionals who have earned the esteem of others. Then, take their advice. You’ll be glad you did.
Q: Is there any advantage to consulting an attorney before I call my insurance agent for a fire, water, or property damage claim?
A: Home and business owners don’t contact attorneys soon enough. They often give up when they’re told their insurance doesn’t cover the claim, or they unwittingly sign a release and accept a check without question. People also mistakenly believe they can’t afford an attorney when disaster strikes. That’s why I handle these cases on a reduced contingency fee.
A substantially higher settlement check is possible when you have an experienced negotiator fighting for what you’re rightfully entitled to. Don’t be another reason why the property/ casualty insurance industry reports billions in profits again this year.
Q: How do you best position a property for a competitive sale?
A: First, price it right. Properties priced properly sell well, while those that are priced too high tend to sit on the market. Properties priced below market often result in multiple bids, or even a bidding war. Develop the right pricing strategy through defensible, comparable sales data.
Second, present the property at its best. Clean it, remove clutter, depersonalize the space, and stage it if necessary. Good first impressions are critical. Don’t rely on the imagination of the buyer to sell a home.
Third, make it easy to sell. Enable showings. Respond to questions quickly. Prepare to negotiate. Be ready to move. Assemble the right team. Find experienced brokers, lawyers, cleaners, carpenters, stagers, and movers. They should work well together and work well with you.
Finally, take the emotion out of it. It’s a business transaction. Work with the buyer, not against them. With these simple strategies, your property will sell in no time.
Q: What’s the most important thing to look for when choosing a wealth management professional?
A: You want someone who wants to get to know you as a person, not just as an account number.
STM Wealth Management Group wants to really get to know their clients, and they look at a client’s entire financial picture beyond just their investments. “We work to develop a deep understanding of each client’s life, which allows us to provide the best financial recommendations possible” says Paul Toby.
“Our recommendations are based on a client’s total balance sheet,” adds Paul Monacelli. “We view ourselves as our clients’ ‘personal CFO.’ ”
Toby and Monacelli are both senior vice presidents with UBS Financial Services and are part of the well-established, fivemember STM Wealth Management Group in Troy. Their group serves clients nationwide and is dedicated to providing highly personalized, proactive service while relying on the vast resources of UBS.
The financial partners pride themselves on maintaining long-term client relationships — they have partnered with some clients for as long as 23 years. There’s always someone to take your call and, as they like to say, there’s always a Paul available to help you.
In providing wealth management services to clients, we offer both investment advisory and brokerage services, which are separate and distinct and differ in material ways. For information, including the different laws and contracts that govern, visit ubs.com/workingwithus.
UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Q: What happens when a loved one without a will passes away?
A: In Michigan, the decedent’s assets will go to his or her closest relatives under state “intestate succession” laws. A surviving spouse is given priority over the decedent’s other surviving heirs. How much the spouse gets depends on whether the decedent has other descendants — such as children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren — and the size of the estate.
If the decedent has surviving children, the children will receive an intestate share of the decedent’s estate. The size of each child’s share depends on how many children the decedent had. If any of the decedent’s children predeceased him or her and left behind children of their own, their children will be entitled to their share of the decedent’s estate.
Although at first glance intestate succession seems complicated, the process can be simplified by having a will and/or trust to bypass Michigan’s intestacy laws.
Q: I’m a dentist and am interested in being part of a dental service organization. How does that work?
A: Dental service organizations (or DSOs) are companies that partner with dental practices to provide support for a variety of nonclinical functions (bookkeeping, marketing, HR, etc.) so the doctors can focus 100 percent of their time on patient care.
If you’re currently the owner of a practice, you can affiliate with a DSO as a means of providing a succession plan for your practice. With a DSO, you’ll be offloading nonclinical activities to another organization. If you’re an associate dentist or just out of school, you can work for a DSO practice, where there will be a heavy emphasis on training and development that’s not often available in a private practice setting.