Let’s get serious about estate planning

By Hans Egger | November 16, 2016 Serious about estate planning

Estate Planning is, in many cases, treated by financial planners as an afterthought… a couple of questions about whether the client has a Will or Power of Attorney and if not, then a cut and paste addition to the SOA advising the client to see a solicitor and get the documents in place.

This pointless exercise is repeated year after year and apparently makes us compliant. It adds little to the client /planner relationship and it is usually deemed all too hard and not particularly lucrative. But the glaring fact is that 45% of Australians do not have a valid Will – this should be seen as an opportunity for Financial Planners to engage on this with their clients and do more.

To build your skills in this area, register now to attend an upcoming free presentation seminars on Astute Wheel Estate Planning software for advisers. Here are 5 beneficial reasons why the Modern Adviser should get serious about Estate Planning:

  1. The modern adviser is PROGRESSIVE: Technology makes it easier Estate Planning software now makes it much easier to take your client through a prescribed process to efficiently capture relevant information, determine a client’s unique needs and discuss their options. The outcome is a client that feels that they have been well looked after by their planner and now has good understanding of their own estate planning needs outlined in a Briefing Document that they can take to a solicitor to implement.
  2. The modern adviser is EFFECTIVE: Get paid for your time Financial Planners can charge for this service as the process and the Briefing Document hold critical value for the client who can now easily progress to the next stage of briefing a solicitor and getting these important estate planning documents in place. If the planner wants to add further value they can join the client at the solicitor briefing or forward the client information to an online service such as e-lawyer.
  3. The modern adviser is PROACTIVE: Better Advice for Clients Taking the time to do this aspect of Financial Planning properly has many benefits, you have now broadened your service offering and become more important to your client, you have also improved your compliance by taking seriously your “know your client” and “best interest duties” and you will never have to have an uncomfortable conversation with a widow or widower that ask why a Will was never put in place.
  4. The modern adviser is COMMERCIAL: Generate more referrals By developing an understanding of your clients’ family tree you will also have gained further opportunities to determine referral opportunities such as life insurance for adult children and retirement needs of ageing parents. These will be easier conversations to have as part of the estate planning process. If you want to cultivate or improve referrals from a centre of influence then estate planning is a simple and non-threatening way to ease into a relationship with their client base. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? The client ends up with a properly structured Will and Powers of Attorney and Guardianship – that’s got to be a good outcome for both the client and your COI.
  5. The modern adviser is COMPLIANT: Fee Disclosure Statements and Opt in FDS and Opt in rules are the government’s way of legislating for better advice and better value to the end client. If you are concerned by these rules (and you should be) then Estate Planning is a great way to show extra value at your next review meeting or provides a compelling reason to re-engage with those disengaged clients who you haven’t seen for many years and are at most risk of opting out of your service offering. So if you want to provide better advice to more clients, then providing an Estate Planning solution is the modern advisers’ opportunity to reduce the risk of a shrinking revenue stream from existing clients and increase the chance of referrals from both your clients and your centres of influence.

    Hans Egger is Co-founder and managing director of AstuteWheel Client Engager, Financial Planning Software and Estate Planning Software and admin of The Modern Adviser