The Main Takeaways

  • Estate planning is not only for the super-wealthy; everyone must have at least a basic estate plan
  • Very often, estate planning attorneys do a very good job of filling in the forms but do not do a good job of creating an estate plan. And that is the action that financial advisors should take. Work with the estate planning attorney and the client and create the estate planning plan, not just the documents.
  • As a financial advisor, you have the task of asking questions. Do not assume that the client thinks exactly like you. ASK THEM WHAT THEY WANT; ask them what THEIR questions are.
  • Do not underestimate the value you, as a financial advisor, play in this relationship. Financial advisors meet their clients a few times a year, whereas estate planning attorneys do once for around 8 years. Therefore, you are responsible for nurturing the relationship with your client and following up on any changes in their lives. 
  • Send the Estate Planning Flow Chart as a Value Add to your clients at least every 2 years. That way, you will make sure that all the information is always up to date.
  • Use dollar amounts instead of percentages within your trust’s planning process while with your clients. Make this process easier for your clients, and help them get the idea of how much money they are putting into their trust for their heirs. 
  • ”What do you think your trustee will do with $XXX? Is that OK with you?” Ask this question and help your clients grasp the image of their trust on a higher level.
  • The Estate Planning process, based on our experience, will take you 3 to 6 months if working with a motivated client. This process starts with queuing up the estate planning, having the first meeting with the client, then meeting with the attorney, doing the follow-up, getting the plan drafted, and then getting it funded. Once this process is done, then is the time for the family meeting, where you will explain how the process works.  
  • You need to write down your estate planning process today, and you do not need to build something complex. Start step by step, outlining at least a one-page document. Then make sure you keep expanding on it and make sure you add value to it every next year.