As you advise your clients that they should be updating their estate plan (or, if they do not have one, that the need to establish one immediately), the question of taxes probably comes up often. We always ask our clients what their objectives are, and “saving on taxes” is frequently in the top three responses.
Many clients and advisors think of estate planning as a logistical process designed to reduce taxes, avoid court, and protect assets. Of course, proper planning does enhance the security of their families and assets, but estate planning is actually much more.
How are you planning to strengthen your client relationships in the new year? Effective collaboration as a client-service wealth team helps your clients trust you, creates better client retention, and yields greater opportunities for placement of appropriate products and growing assets under management.
Family discord that results in a will or trust contest can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally painful for your client's family. For you, the advisor, this disharmony usually leads to severely damaged relationships and a loss of assets under management.
Your clients likely set up a living trust with the goal of avoiding probate. When properly prepared and funded, a trust based estate plan will avoid the public, costly, and time-consuming probate court process. Shockingly, many people still make a big mistake, catapulting their assets and loved ones right into the oft dreaded probate court system. That mistake? They fail to fund their trust.
This month we examine the unique planning requirements of families with children, grandchildren or other family members (such as parents) with special needs. There are many misconceptions in this area that result in costly mistakes in planning for these special needs beneficiaries.
Estate planning needs evolve. An old, obsolete estate plan often fails to achieve client goals, resulting in dissatisfaction, unnecessary taxes or probate costs, and a greater likelihood of lost assets under management.