Do your clients view a will or estate plan as important parts of their life and retirement planning?
While many of our clients believe they should have a will or estate plan in place, the fact is many don’t — at least according to the
LexisNexis 2011 EZLaw Wills & Estate Planning Survey
. The survey went on to find that many adults with children considered wills to be for those with significant wealth.
So, as highly-trained licensed professionals, how can we help to ensure that our clients and their children are properly protected, today and for the future?
1. Talk to them about the importance of proper planning
a. The importance of having a will that states how individually owned assets are to be distributed
2. Assess the client's estate:
b. The importance of having a living will that communicates your clients' wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatment
c. The importance of designating another individual as power of attorney so he or she can handle financial or health care issues if your client is incapacitated
d. The importance of considering a revocable trust, which is useful in avoiding the probate process in states where probate is burdensome
Help your client develop a financial net worth statement. In this statement, review beneficiary designations to ensure that their intentions will be carried out.
3. Determine their potential tax liability:
As of 2013, individual estates worth $5.25 million or less — double for married couples — can avoid federal estate taxes
. Estates that exceed the exclusion amount are taxed at 40 percent, so work with their tax advisor to review current tax liability and any future liability.
Issues that are unclear to your client could have a disastrous impact on your client's family, now and in the future. Providing this valuable
service and bringing the subject up will set you aside from other salespeople, build client loyalty and help gain wallet share in each home by providing financial and insurance products that cover your clients' changing lifestyle issues.
Influencers are always more valuable than referrals
; influencers are vested in you because they feel appreciative of the value you brought them. Moreover, assisting the client's whole family creates opportunity for multigenerational marketing. So remember: You are of value, and the value you bring your client will be remembered long after the ink is dried and the protection issued.