How to Find a Legal/Financial Professional

The best way to find an attorney or financial advisor is to check with your trusted friends and neighbors. Look for a professional who has successfully handled a situation similar to your own and who has a good track record with such situations.

Have you used a legal or financial professional in the past? Do you trust this person? Even if they are not experienced in the type of situation that you are dealing with, they may be able to refer you to another professional.

Your local bar association can provide an attorney referral service for a small fee.

The Florida Bar Association offers a statewide service at (toll free) 1-800-342-8011 for residents in cities without a local bar association. The $25 fee includes a half-hour consult.

Before scheduling an appointment, confirm with the legal or financial professional that he or she does, indeed, handle your type of situation. Be sure to ask about fees and what services those fees cover.

Knowing Your Financial Professional

There are several types of financial professionals. Some sell products and offer advice. They make their money on a commission-basis. Some work independently and charge an hourly rate or flat fee for services.

It’s easy to say that you are a financial planner. State or federal governments do not regulate financial planners. People offering financial advice may fall under state regulations related to insurance but not for their financial-planning activities. Therefore, be cautious when searching for someone to help you with investment or financial planning decisions. Referrals from your trusted friends are helpful. Your attorney or insurance agent might be able to suggest a trusted professional.

It is important that you look for a certified financial planner who has met minimum standards of education and experience. These certified planners agree to abide by a code of ethics to act in your interest.

You can also check with the Better Business Bureau and the Certified Financial Planner Board before hiring someone to work with your money. Ask these agencies if any complaints have been made about the person you are considering.

Financial professions giving advice need to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Check before proceeding.

Call the financial planner’s office and inquire about the education, experience, and qualifications of the financial planner. Schedule a face-to-face interview. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the planner. If the planner seems too aggressive or too timid for your liking, then look further.

Do you need help in finding a legal and/or financial professional?

Click on the link below to read a list of legal and financial resources that are able to assist you with finding a qualified professional.
Legal and Financial Resources

Another source of information for locating certified financial planners is the web site of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that helps people benefit from competent, professional and ethical financial planning. For web site articles (in PDF format) about locating and working with certified financial planners, select the CFP Board links below:
Questions To Ask When Choosing A Certified Financial Planner
Your Rights as a Financial Planning Client