By Rosanne Rogé
The "key" research you need to do is be sure is that the advisor is qualified to practice and has no outstanding violations against them.
I would recommend searching the following websites: Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards (http://www.cfp.net/) and The Financial Planning Association (http://www.fpanet.org/) for a qualified planner in the parent's local area.
The second criterion to search is a "fee-only" financial advisor. This type of advisor works directly for the client and is compensated either by fees charged for assets under management or on an hourly basis and are not compensated by commissions or trailers on products sold. This also helps to prevent a conflict of interest between the advisor and the client.
Do not confuse this with the term "fee-based" which is a combination of fees plus commissions.
You can check the website for the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors at http://www.napfa.org/ for a fee-only planner.