In this episode, Matthew and Micah touch on the importance of being able to put systems in place, delegate, and put our practices on autopilot successfully. They share specifically how key your estate planning process is and where you absolutely need to be involved as an advisor.
Listen in to learn the important areas where the guys need information from clients in order to help them with their estate planning, as well as who they won’t work with and why. You will get a better understanding of how to deliver more value to your clients through estate planning and how Matthew and Micah have specifically brought clarity and ease to estate planning meetings with clients.
Spending too much time in the office and not enough with your family? There’s a better way.
New advisors sometimes find it difficult to justify premium rates without being physically present to oversee day-to-day operations—but this pressure can lead to long hours, unhappy loved ones, and burnout, all of which impact client value. In this article, Matthew and Micah share their five top tips for building strong, trustworthy systems that require as little hands-on time as possible.
We all know that delegation is key to a practice that supports extended periods away from the office. But when Micah asks other financial advisors how they do estate planning, the answer he hears most often is, “I refer my clients to an estate planner.” Is that really the best way to add value?
It can be tempting to refer clients out to another professional with issues your office isn’t prepared to handle. After all, it takes time to build strong systems and train good people. But if all you do is delegate out estate planning without adding any additional review or due diligence, you’re missing an important opportunity to add value within your own practice. Whenever you discover a client’s need, your first step should always be to ask whether you have or could develop the tools to meet that need right there in your office.
And offering your clients, even more, doesn’t mean you have to personally keep your foot on the gas every minute of every day. If you don’t have the knowledge, experience, available time, or compliance framework to do the very best job for your client, then seek out the training or people you need to offer more of what clients need in one value-packed practice.
New advisors sometimes feel awkward telling their clients when they’re taking extended time out of the office to be with their families, go mountain biking, or pursue other passions. But if you’re doing what you say you’re going to do and your office is continually delivering massive value, you can feel confident being upfront with your clients about how you’re spending your time.
“We’re people too,” Matthew says. “They know we’re doing fishing trips and other stuff, and they’re a hundred percent supportive, as long as they’re taken care of. And if we don’t take care of them, then all of a sudden, they’re magically less supportive. It’s funny how that works.”
The key, he explains, is putting strong systems in place, but still keeping enough of a pulse to make sure that massive value is being delivered consistently. “If we’re proactive, if we have our meetings scheduled, we have our value adds coming out, we’re taking care of them—man, we get a lot of grace to go do some amazing things.”
When a prospect mentions that another advisor they’ve been speaking with has a lower fee, some new advisors will spring into reaction mode and start to negotiate. But if you’re proactive in delivering massive value, you’ll never have to compete on price. You’ll be in a whole other league.
Matthew never changes his fee to appease a prospect. Instead, he changes the focus of the conversation by asking what that other advisor said about the prospect’s will and trust. And when the client inevitably tells him the other advisor never asked to see that paperwork, Matthew uses the opportunity to set his business apart.
With concern in his voice, he’ll say, “You mean this document that says what happens to everything you’ve earned and saved in your lifetime if you’re unable to make decisions, or what happens to all of your assets when you pass away—they didn’t bother reviewing that?” By this point, the prospect is beginning to understand that the “discount” the other financial advisor offers really means a discount service as well.
If you can replicate this conversation with your prospects and add, “Good news: this is something we can help you with,” you will deftly paint yourself as the solution to the problem they didn’t even realize they had. Approach a prospect armed with the certainty that they won’t receive your level of service anywhere else, and you’ll never feel like you have to lower your fees to stay competitive.
Some clients might push back and say, “I’ve already hired an estate planning attorney. Why do I need to give you these documents too?” Sure, reviewing estate planning isn’t strictly what the client hired you to do, but not reviewing these documents while your clients are still around to clarify any discrepancies could have huge repercussions to the loved ones they leave behind. If a client won’t give you what you need to do your best job and keep their family from facing any unhappy surprises, they may not be the right client for you.
That’s how Micah handles any client pushback when he asks for a particular document. He simply tells them, “If we don’t get these documents from you, we won’t continue the relationship.” From durable power of attorney and wills to tax documents, for Micah, this level of cooperation is nonnegotiable: “If we’re not getting a tax return, man, deal breaker—we’re going to have to graduate you.”
It’s going to take a lot of work. If you have a hundred clients and they each have estate documents, reviewing them could take you 20 or 30 minutes for each client. Depending on how many clients you have, this could add up to dozens if not hundreds of hours.
But if it’s hard, that just means it’s worth doing. “This is what separates top advisors from everybody else,” Matthew affirms. “This is why Micah and I are able to charge a premium fee: because we’re delivering premium value.” If you’re committing time, funds, and team to doing what’s best for every client, you and your clients will always know your premium service is well worth your premium fees.
Just because we’re going off and taking adventures, it doesn’t mean we’re neglecting clients. It’s the essence of DMV: delivering massive value. - Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet
There are a few deal breakers, and if we don’t get the documents we need from you, we won’t continue the relationship. – Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet
The person who just wants to 'sort it out when I’m dead' is not the kind of client I will work with. – Matthew Jarvis Click To Tweet
This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…
Matthew Jarvis: Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Perfect RIA Podcast. I’m your cohost, Matthew Jarvis. And with me as usual, Micah Shilanski. Micah, how are you today?
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, I’m doing fantastic. I cannot complain. I’m in beautiful Alaska. House construction is going well, it no longer looks like I’m homeless. We actually have windows in our home. So, things are progressing quite nicely and just about to go on an epic fishing trip. So, so many great things going on.
Matthew Jarvis: Well, that’s a lot of fun to hear, Micah. It’s always fun to remember. In fact, I’m reading right now, the book EOS Life, and they’re talking about the importance of having a balanced life.
And maybe you and I take that to an extreme, but it is always fun to hear about the exciting things that we’re able to do in our personal lives. Because our practices are running so efficiently, we’re able to deliver so much value. We’re doing surge meetings, all these great things.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. And this is a really key part that I know you get. But just to make sure on our listeners’ standpoint, just because we’re going off and taking adventures, it doesn’t mean that we’re neglecting clients, as that’s the key essence of DMV; delivering massive value. Our clients know that we’re there for them, they also know we like to enjoy Alaska because guess what, so do they.
And so, we’re people too. They know we’re doing fishing trips. They know we’ doing this other stuff and they’re a hundred percent supportive as long as they’re taken care of. And if we don’t take care of them, then all of a sudden, they’re magically less supportive of this. It’s funny how that works.
But if we’re proactive, we have our meeting scheduled, we have our value adds coming out, we’re taking care of them from a proactive standpoint, man, we get a lot of grace to go do some amazing things.
Matthew Jarvis: Micah, I wonder if this almost compares to like, for lack of a better analogy, cruise control on your car. We all have cruise control on our car and we understand that while cruise control will help regulate the speed, especially adaptive cruise control. And so, it’s almost as if, when we’re on vacation, we’re out of the office, it’s not as though we’re ignoring the practice. Like we’re just like “I hope it’s still there when I get back.”
There are a lot of systems in place, but we’re still keeping enough of a pulse to make sure that massive value is being delivered. But that doesn’t require me to have my foot on the gas and the brake all the time, every minute of every day.
Micah Shilanski: I love that analogy. That’s probably really close, adaptive cruise control. We’re paying attention to things. There’s things where we got to be hyper-focused, when all of a sudden, you got to make that exit or your Tesla can’t see stop signs yet. So, you still got to pay attention to these things.
But there’s a lot of things that we can set … your practice up on autopilot. But I guess Jarvis, to kind of get to this point a little bit more, when we talk about setting things up on autopilot, that doesn’t really mean we get to delegate everything and expect it to go a hundred percent correct.
And I see Jarvis, I see advisors making this mistake all the time, is we all say we do the same thing. Well, alright, well, that’s a lie, but anyways. So, we all do the same thing, but then we’ve talked about what that is and people say, “Oh yeah, I do estate planning too.”
And I get a little passionate about this, because I’m really proactive in estate planning with our clients. And I’d ask them how they do estate planning. They’re like, “Oh, well, I recommend they go see an estate planning attorney.” I’m like okay, then what? They’re like, “Well, then it’s done.” I’m like okay, “That’s not estate planning just to be clear. That’s just kind of delegating out your job as a financial planner.”
Now, maybe you don’t have the knowledge, maybe you don’t have experience, maybe compliance, whatever excuse you’re going to use. But if you look at delivering massive value to clients and all you do is delegate out estate planning to be done, and there’s no additional review or due diligence or processes you’re going to go through, I’m going to argue and say, you’re not really delivering massive value to your clients in this particular area.
Matthew Jarvis: Micah, I love that in the prospect process, we talk about this a lot and as it relates to taxes. Let’s talk about it as it relates to estate planning.
So, if I’m ever up against another financial advisor, whether I’m with a prospect or just in the industry, and they say, “Well, you charge this exorbitant fee.” Cool, “Mr. and Mrs. prospect, this other advisor that you’re working with, that you’re talking to, what did they say after they read your will or your trust?”
And they’ll say, “Well, they didn’t read my will or my trust.” And I say “Well, how could you know that?” And they said, “They never asked for it.” I get this legitimately concerned expression.
I say, “You mean like this document that says what happens to everything that you’ve earned and saved in your lifetime, if you’re unable to make decisions or when you pass away what happens to all of your assets, they didn’t bother reviewing that?”
And now, the client or the prospect’s starting to get really concerned. I say, yeah, that really sounds like a big deal. So, it almost sounds like this discount that you’re getting is really a discount service as well. So, those of us, Micah, to your point, who are proactive in delivering massive value, that’s why fee compression is a non-existent thing for us.
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, your spot on. Now, I always love that. And I know that wasn’t your full client script. One of the things that I always love to add into that is say, “Hey, good news, this is something we can help you with.” And make sure you’re painting yourself as that solution that’s going to be there.
And then have up your sleeve at that same time, and Jarvis, maybe it’s a good time we’re going to talk about horror stories, of the horror stories that we’ve seen. Because now, one of the responses that sometimes I’ll get from clients or prospects, a new client or prospect — and it says, “Well, I’ve already hired an estate planning attorney. I did this last year. Why do I need to provide you these documents?”
Because these are deal breakers for us. There’s a couple of deal breakers: “If we don’t get these documents from you or work on them with, we won’t continue the relationship.” One of them is healthcare durable power of attorney of will and maybe a trust. You don’t have to have a trust. It may or may not be appropriate. We’ve got to have that conversation.
Another example is like a tax turn. If we’re not getting a tax return, man, deal breaker, we’re going to have to graduate you from the relationship because I don’t have the information, I need to provide the value you expect to get from me.
And the same thing with this: if they’re telling me one thing, if they’re telling me their estate planning’s done and I check that off the box and say, “Hey, it’s done, but I never look at it” then God forbid, Bob and Sue die, and now, their three kids come back.
And what happened is they had a blended family; Bob had one kid, Sue had the other, they gave all the money to Bob’s kid and magically, he was going to give it to everybody else, and that doesn’t happen. Who are they going to get mad at? Just out of curiosity.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. And Micah, I think there’s definitely this liability side, but there’s also this like … you and I are both incredibly passionate … everyone who listens to this show’s incredibly passionate about delivering massive value to clients. How can I possibly sleep at night knowing that that went down because I didn’t look?
Or for another client who’s still alive fearing that that’s going to go down like, “Oh no, I know this is a time bomb, and I know that if they are unable to make decisions or they pass away and all this blows up, this is a time bomb.” Yes, liability-wise is a time bomb for me, it’s an absolute time bomb for them.
And I know Micah you’re the same way. I refuse to work with time bombs. I refuse to work with sinking ships. If somebody wants to have a sinking ship, if they tell me, “Hey, listen, it’s not important to me, let them sort it out when I’m dead.” Well, that’s just not the kind of person I can work with.
Micah Shilanski: Amen. I guess the other cool part about estate planning, now, great news is we’ve got a lot of requests from people for estate planning. Like how do you do the presentation? How do you come up with the one place flow chart, which we’re going to talk about a little bit. How do you do a lot of these things?
We’re going to be putting together a masterclass on this, where we’re going to be diving into this from the client side and from the advisor side. But the cool part I think about this Jarvis, you don’t have to have some JD to really understand estate planning.
In fact, most estate planning attorneys or most attorneys don’t understand estate planning. Estate planning attorneys have no idea how taxes work, in my opinion, at least for the most part of the cases that are out there.
So, it’s not like you have to go to a law school to figure this out. It’s really just follow the line or follow the money. When someone dies, what happens, and then asking a few probing questions after that.
And when you ask these probing questions, now, you can start to see just from a common sense, one to two, two to three, three to four, is this going to create any problems or dilemmas?
Then we bring that up while everyone’s still alive. It’s so much easier to fix these documents when we’re above ground, below ground gets a little complex. So, above ground is always our better option. And now, we can have the discussion and fix this.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, Micah, I love that. Now, for advisors who have not incorporated estate planning into their practice or who have not done it consistently with clients, let’s talk just a little bit how you implement.
So, for prospects, it’s easy. You just give them “Here’s the list of documents we need to do our analysis and estate planning’s one.” And I go with it the same assumption that a doctor was; when I go to the doctor’s office, they don’t say, “Hey, Mr. Jarvis, could we take your pulse and blood pressure?” They don’t ask like, “Hey, would it be okay?” They just say like, “Hey, roll up your sleeve, we need to take your pulse and blood pressure.”
So, for prospects, I need investment documents, I need tax returns, I need the state documents, easy enough. For existing clients, if you haven’t been good at this, this is a great time to position and say, “I’m committed to always improving my practice and I’ve been trained and mentored by some great advisors in the country. And we’re adding this feature as an additional value to you. And as such, we’re going to start needing copies of your tax return.”
So, there’s a lot of head trash around, I think new value, Micah, but it’s really easy to approach.
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, it really is, because we get the head trash saying, “Holy crap, I’ve been supposed to be doing this for the last 5, 10, 15, 20 years and I haven’t. As soon as they find out I haven’t been asking this, they’re going to know I’m a fraud. All my clients are going to fire me at the same time. I’m now, going to be homeless. My wife’s going to divorce me. My kids aren’t going to talk to me. I’ll be living in a van down by the river.”
I mean, boom, it’s amazing that head trash. That’s how fast that goes. But the reality is clients love that we’re always learning. And this also plants the seeds that you’re adaptive to different environments of whatever is best suited for the clients.
So, here’s a bit of a stretch, but here’s also something that’s easy with my clients; we custodian at Schwab. God forbid, if Schwab is not the best offer and solution for them, I got a lot of leeway with my clients to move custodians. Why? Because I’m always looking for the best solution for them.
Bringing up new value adds, this is a common thing for them. Making slight changes is a common thing for them. This isn’t like a brand-new thing that says, “Oh my gosh, Micah, hasn’t done anything different in the last 20 years.” I’m always bringing this up; how do we add this value?
So, you as another advisor, if you haven’t done this estate planning, use that line. Jarvis just said. What I would add to it — have in your back pocket two or three stories, because you’re going to get a handful of clients that are going to push back on you. That says “Well, I just hired this attorney, they just did all these documents. I don’t know why you need to review them.” Or maybe I’m the only one that gets these questions.
So, have in your back pocket a couple of stories that you can go through to say, “You know what, I was talking with an advisor and this happened.” Here’s a really easy one, blended families. What is a blended family?
So, you have a couple that were divorced previously. Then they got married and now, you have kids on either side of the family tree. I was just earlier … well, I guess it was last year now.
Last year, we’d brought on a new client, we’d asked for her estate planning documents, a little bit of pushback, because she’s like, “I just hired an estate planning attorney, I just did this four months ago, I really don’t want to go through this whole thing again.” Unfortunately, it’s required.
And I said, “Great news, we’re going to read your documents, we’re going to ask you a couple questions. If everything’s in order, man, not a problem, it’s a quick conversation and we’ll move on, but we really need to do this.” So, she reluctantly kind of agreed because ID personality doesn’t want to do it again. She already made that decision. She thinks it’s accurate.
Jarvis, we get her estate planning document and basically, it says, whatever spouse dies first, everything goes to the surviving spouse. Okay, that’s normal. But then when that surviving-
Matthew Jarvis: So, that language, yeah.
Micah Shilanski: Exactly. But when that surviving spouse dies, everything goes to their side of the family tree. The other side is completely disinherited. They’re not getting one red cent.
And so, you read this document, and I can already picture this conversation. I know exactly what happened with the attorney. They both said, “Hey, if we die, everything goes to each other, then it goes to our kids.” Okay, boom. And that’s what the estate planning attorney wrote.
And this document created this massive issue that when I brought it up to the client, she’s like “No, no, that’s not what it says. That’s not what I want.” And I was like “Yeah, actually it does, it is what it says.”
So, we had to go and get a different attorney to get this document corrected because it had a massive issue in there that if we hadn’t take the time to read it, man, that would’ve been a problem.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, Micah, I think it’s also important to empathize with the client why they would not want to provide you with their estate documents. It’s a hustle for them. It’s not a pleasant subject to think about in general. No one likes to think about death and dying. They don’t want to maybe expose them. They might think, “Well, you’re going to find out that our documents are a mess.” Or whatever the case may be, they don’t want you to see that.
So, we need to kind of be empathetic towards that. But I like to keep it really easy. I like to use some really simple examples as well. “Mr. and Mrs. Client, imagine if you’re traveling, I know you love to travel, and you ended up in the hospital, how would your family track down copies of your estate documents if they needed them?” Great news for our clients, they can just call us. Or you could just call us instead of trying to get someone to get into the safe deposit box to find those.
The other example that I’ve got Micah, that I often use; I have a client who passed away years ago, her son, adult son brings the estate documents. Long story short, he had pulled out two pages of the trust, retyped them in perfect matching style and stuck them back in disinheriting his three siblings.
So, he just said, like … it said before “You go to all four siblings.” He changed it and goes just to me, “I specifically disinherit my other three children.” And I thought, boy, that’s really strange. That’s not at all what I remember. So, I went back to our archives, I pulled out the original documents we had and sure enough, he had altered the documents.
Now, this led to litigation, led to criminal stuff, but had we not had a copy, that state document, it was so compelling that it was only just kind of my mental alarm of this can’t be right.
And so, that’s an example I share with clients. It’s also an example, dear listeners, that you can share with your clients, just like Micah said, “Hey, an advisor I know, an advisor who mentors me, ran into this and I want to make sure that none of my clients ever run into this.”
Micah Shilanski: And I always love to say, “Look, I know it’s not your kids. Your kids are great. Your kids aren’t going to be in the issue, but we just got to make sure all of our clients are taken care of.” Let’s not pick on their kids in this situation.
And that’s the same thing when I’m talking about estate planning. And one of the other fallacies that comes up is a client says, “You know what, I’m going to give everything to the elders, then they’re going to split everything between all the kids.”
Alright. Well, there’s a huge amount of tax issues with that for one. So, we could talk about that. But then I also talk about other stories where kids inherited all the money and they disinherited some of their siblings.
And I said, “Look, I know this, isn’t your son, I know this isn’t your daughter. These are things that can happen. And because these stories are out there, they can cause tension and a little bit of extra family drama in order for your son to spread this out. So, maybe another way that we could do this is outlining it this way, where then all of a sudden, the beneficiaries each get a quarter directly from the custodians. It’s going to save them in taxes. It’s going to go through these other things, et cetera.”
So, again Jarvis, to your point, estate planning is really emotional. You’re not only talking about death, you’re talking about their kids screwing up, squandering the money and disinheriting their siblings. I mean, that’s really what you’re talking about and you’re trying to protect.
And so, this is a really delicate balance that you got to have these conversations, but you got to make sure language is in there, that your clients’ needs and wishes are in there correctly where they won’t get abuse. Because we all have seen that.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and this really, I think Micah is where we separate in so many places, good advisors from really great kind of tee pure level rock star advisors. A good advisor’s going to ask about estate planning, a good advisor’s going to warn them about the issues you just brought up. A great advisor’s going to know, hey listen, if I pick on their kids, they’re going to get defensive.
So, I could use things like “Mr. and Mrs. Client, I know that your children would never contest your will, but what if somebody’s suing one of your kids and that attorney starts contesting the will, so they can sue your child for more.”
So, I’m always going to put the blame where it’s not going to hurt anyone’s feelings and attorneys are always a great one to pick on. So, then the client kind of gets to riled up. Ultimately, we’re getting what we need, which is the estate documents. But we’re blaming some future attorney, who’s going to sue into the family, and I’m not pointing to anyone specifically.
So, again, the small thing, this little bit of language makes a night and day difference between good advisors and really great advisors.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, and that’s really the huge thing here. This isn’t about you being an estate planning attorney. Now, if you don’t know how to find an estate planning attorney on the backstage pass Invictus website, we have a checklist that we go through on how to find an estate planning attorney. What’s a call list that you can do.
And this is actually a service that we provide for our clients. If we get a client let’s say in Maryland and we don’t have a relationship there, we’re going to dial and smile and we’re going to find one, a couple of different attorneys for our clients and walk through that process with them.
We also want to make sure we’re staying involved through this entire process. So, this at least in our office, isn’t a, A, great, we found an attorney handed off and it’s done.
We go through and ask the estate planning questions first, we understand what that concept the client is … what they want. Why do we ask this first? Because when we get the documents back from the estate planning attorney, we need to match them up with our notes.
And this just happened, I have a client that has a $8 million estate down in California. So, massive tax repercussions. They have a friend, who’s an attorney. Who’s helping them out. And their friend has cost them millions dollars in taxes if they both died.
And so, I’m like, “You got to fire your friend and we got to go find another estate planning attorney.” But I was able to have a conversation with them first and understand their wishes. Then they went to their friend, they got their estate planning done. Then they sent over their copy of the documents and the documents just aren’t comprehensive.
And the reason I can say that now, Jarvis, just as you can, because I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of trusts now at this point. So, another reason that I love to get these, is I get to read the trust, I get to fly through that information. And now, I get one more arrow in my quiver of understanding how all these processes work in different places.
Now, I can start to see problems in other documents. Now, I’m not an attorney, I can’t give legal advice. I’m not drafting anything for clients, but now, I can read this paragraph and I’ll be like, “You know what, this doesn’t really sound like I’ve read it a hundred other times in a hundred other trusts and I’ve seen it implemented. Maybe we need to ask more questions about this.”
And so, now, I can start probing on different things because I’ve gotten that. So, by getting all of your clients’ documents, reading all of your clients’ documents, man, your education just goes through the roof.
Matthew Jarvis: But Micah, a couple things come up here. One is, this is a lot of work. If you haven’t gotten estate planning documents from your client, that part’s relatively easy. There’s letters in the backstage pass, there’s value adds in the backstage pass. It’s a great agenda item for your fall surge meeting, copyright The Perfect RIA. There’s lots of pieces there, but-
Micah Shilanski: That’s right.
Matthew Jarvis: It’s going to take a lot of work. If you have a hundred clients and they each have estate documents, you’re not familiar with them, it could take you 20 or 30 minutes for each client.
We’re talking dozens, if not hundreds of hours. And this is what separates top advisors from everybody else. This is why Micah and I are able to charge a premium fee because we’re delivering premium value, in this case, taking the time to literally read these documents for every client.
Jamie: Hey, podcast, listeners. This is Jamie Shilanski and I’m here to tell you that your goals aren’t good enough. Because if you have a goal, I don’t care written on a notepad, taped to your monitor, stuck up on the wall, somewhere in your office, it’s not going to get you to achieve any type of results that you’re looking for.
Goals without plans are plans to fail. You know that The Perfect RIA is all about action. And that’s why you have a unique opportunity to purchase your ticket for the pre-conference event of the year in Denver, Colorado.
Join Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski on October 8th, 2022 for the XYPN Pre-Con; a one-day action packed interactive workshop where you get to work hand-in-hand with other advisors just like you who want to achieve success and are ready to do what works. Listen to our panel of success.
Get your questions answered about what works and what pitfalls you need to avoid in your career. And then we want you up and out of your seat. We’ll be taking out the head trash, doubling your efficiency, looking for ways of effectiveness and partnering you up with accountability partners.
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Micah Shilanski: If I use that as like, “Hey, we can’t get to your retirement income and investment portfolio until we tackle estate planning,” they have motivation to get this done.
So, we’re going to go through that process, they’re going to get an attorney. They’re going to do it themselves, whatever that process is, then they’re going to get it back to us, we’re going to review it.
And we’re going to put together a one pager, which attorneys hate by the way. So, it takes a lot of working with them to get them to bless that. But a one pager that says, “Hey, what’s a flow chart on when you die, where does your money go?”
And it’s not that complex. And of course, we use buckets, because it’s the easiest way to examine that. Not income buckets, slightly different. But no, we’re going to do a little estate planning flow chart. And we’re going to outline that and say “Great, when Bob dies, what happens, when Sue dies what happens? How does the money go to the kids? Is there any money for the grandkids?”
And we’re going to outline that really easily, because then every year, I want them to pull that up and say, “Hey, has anything changed? Who’s my beneficiaries. Who’s my trustees. Is there anything there?”
Well, instead of pulling up a hundred pages of legal documents and having to review this, there’s a one pager on top that outlines those things. And Jarvis, what I love about this, is anytime they want to make a change, the first place they call is us, they chat with us about it, then we get them to the attorney, then they start working through.
So, they’re keeping us involved in that process and this coincides right to our beneficiary report. When we run our beneficiary report, that should coincide to the estate planning. So, all of this stuff beautifully flows together. And this is massive value that you’re delivering to your clients. Your clients absolutely love getting this.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, Micah, it also feeds into the long-term care value add, which is also inside the backstage pass: if you became sick and you were unable to make decisions on your own, who has the authority to make those decisions and what requirements have to be met.
And this could go, Micah, as you know, into an entire conversation of powers of attorney effective upon disability, effective immediately, how that ebbs and flows, the risks awards there.
But yeah, this gathering information, something we did in our office was we had a virtual power planner, a very skilled one that we have, go through and pull out of all the estate documents, what year they were made, who is the attorney, if that shows (that’s sometimes hard to find); who the attorney and facts are, these different things, the executors, et cetera.
So, that’s all in a spreadsheet that were now imported into the CRM. That way it’s easier to generate from the Invictus value add toolkit, these estate planning value add, beneficiary value add, long-term care planning value add. I want to be efficient in this because it is time consuming tasks.
Micah Shilanski: Yes. So, it needs to go in your CRM, it needs to go in Excel spreadsheet. It needs to go in something that you can reference this information at bulk later. If it just lives on your one-page financial plan, which is great, or just inside the client document, which is really nice, there’s no way to pull that out at mass.
Here’s a great value add. We had a … this was years ago, probably eight years ago. We had an attorney retire. Now, this is before we had everything in our CRM, but we had an attorney retire that we had used a lot.
Now, we had to know, oh crap, which clients used that attorney, and do we want to reach out to them and have that attorney transfer the files off to another attorney. We need to find a new estate planning attorney.
Had we had had all that, like we do now, inside of our CRM, I could quickly run a report and say, “Great, here’s all of the clients that have this attorney. And now, we could proactively communicate with them to move over. So, I mean the future value add of systematizing this data are phenomenal.
Matthew Jarvis: Well, and Micah, this is something that you and I, as well as Benjamin Brandt are going to go into more detail at XYPNLIVE on October 8th and December 1. It’s an all-day event that we’re doing a panel of success, how to double the value you deliver to clients while working less.
And so, on its face, this estate planning thing you think, “Well, I’ll never have any time. I’ll have to work nights and weekends for years to get this updated.” And if you do it inefficiently, it can take you a long time.
By learning from other advisors like ourselves who have figured out how to dial this in can dramatically shorten the time and dramatically increase the value.
So, that’s October 8th, in Denver at the XYPN Conference, we have an all-day pre-conference going.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, really important. And a lot of my knowledge on estate planning has come from a couple things. One of which is just meeting with other advisors, chatting with them about their process. How do they do this? How do they build this? What are things that they do that adds massive value?
Alright, Jarvis, well this podcast is all about action items. So, let’s go ahead and jump into it. What are some great action items we should be talking about today?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, I’d say action item number one is you’ve got to create a system for getting estate planning documents from every client. And that can be using one of the letters that we have in the backstage pass, that can be especially making an agenda item on your fall surge, which there’s all sorts of pieces there.
But you’ve got to … and of course, having a list of which clients from whom you’ve gotten estate documents and which ones you’re missing. That’s got to be tracked in your CRM.
I would make that your latter half of the year priority, have that list of all your clients. From whom do we have estate documents, whose estate documents are current, who needs an action item.
And then every time you’re doing your team meeting, alright, how do we whittle this down, so that by the end of fall surge, you’ve got, ideally, a hundred percent, but let’s realistically say 90 to 95% of current estate doc.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah. And that would be a great one. We would prep our clients just thinking about this process, we’ll go into more in the webinar — but we’d prep our clients about this that just says, “Hey, you know what, send out a bomb, bomb video. Send out, why are we asking for this?” “Great news, we’re always adding more value.”
Just what Jarvis said at the beginning of the podcast, we would outline that form. We’d have an email follow up form. We’d have an expectation timeline set. When they get these documents, what are we going to do with it?
If they just give you the documents, then they never hear from you again, that’s really not massive value. The clients are like, “Why the heck did I spend the time resurrecting these documents if I don’t hear anything from you?” So, what’s your plan to follow up on that, I think is really, really important.
Other thing I think I’m going to say on this list, is what are you doing to up your estate planning game? Is this doing a COY plan? Is it going in meeting with estate planning attorneys? Are you going to go to the Heckerling Institute? That is high-end estate planning. You can learn a lot there.
But that’s a lot. Sometimes Slott comes out with information that’s about trust and IRAs and how those put together. But what in your PD, your professional development plan is outlined in order to increase your knowledge about taxes and estate planning as they coincide together.
Matthew Jarvis: I love that, Micah. You’ve got to be up in your game. If for no other reason, then it’s good for your soul. But most importantly, it’s how you deliver massive value to clients.
Last action item on my list is of course, you’ve got to be on this front of personal development. You’ve got to be attending conferences, not just where there’s great content. That’s important, that’s critical, but where there is a group of advisors that can tell you, “Hey, how do I do this in my practice? I don’t want theory on the state planning, I don’t want some abstract thing from someone who’s never met with a client. I want to know, hey Micah, how are you talking about estate planning with clients? Hey, Benjamin Brandt, how are you getting a state document? Like how is this actually working?”
Again, the XYPN Live event that we’re doing on October 8th. And of course, for our Invictus members, our next Invictus Mastermind’s December 1st and 2nd in Las Vegas. So, make sure to get signed up for both of those.
Micah Shilanski: Awesome, Jarvis. This is a blast talking about this fun stuff as always. And until next time, happy planning.
Matthew Jarvis: Happy planning.
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