Advisors: What’s the plan for what happens to your Client’s assets once they pass away?
Providing financial advice is all about helping your Clients meet their goals. While financial planning is often focused on lifetime goals, it begs the question, what will happen to their money and investments after they move on from their time on Earth. Or, if they become ill or have an accident and can’t give you instructions themselves, who can?
I know you are acting as “that person” for your clients: the first call if anything tragic happens. Recently a family member’s financial advisor suddenly passed away. It was so shocking and upsetting, for so many reasons, but for them their “that person” isn’t around anymore. I hope you are prepared to help your client’s loved ones when they do call.
Being prepared to help your clients requires:
1) They have an estate plan that includes a Will, maybe a Revocable Living Trust depending on which state they live in and other factors, a Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Living Will or Advance Directive, and a roadmap to all their financial arrangements and people.
2) The above-mentioned estate plan reflects the CLIENTS GOALS!
3) Reviewing all beneficiary forms annually to make sure the right beneficiary designations are on retirement accounts, life insurance, annuities, and any payable upon death or transferable upon death accounts to ensure the right people are listed.
4) Adopt a “follow the money” approach, to verify the estate plan works as intended.
5) An annual review with the client for life changes: Marriage, divorce, parenthood, more kids, moved? Advisors should check in annually to make sure the documents are current and effective in reaching the client’s goals.
Make sure your Client’s goals are being met while they are here on this earth AND for their heirs after they have moved on.