The Wealth Counselor (for Clients)
Talking To Your Clients About Estate Planning In The New Year
2017 is fast approaching – my is time flying by. It seems like only yesterday we were in the midst of primary debates and a long election season. But with the new year comes a chance to recalibrate how you serve your clients and help them deal with the inevitable changes of life. The more you can meet their needs in a holistic fashion – even when that means working to get things done for them that are outside your core responsibility – the better and deeper relationships you’ll enjoy.
To that end, consider segmenting your clients and prospects so you can meet them “where they’re at.” Here are four types of clients you likely serve. Let’s think about how to approach them about estate planning and related needs in 2017…
Your Four Types of Potential Estate Planning Clients
Category 1: People who believe they have nothing to pass to their heirs.
These people might say things like, “I don’t need estate planning because I don’t have an estate.” In their minds, they have disqualified themselves.
Your approach: Get them to focus on the future. They want to protect their legacies and leave assets to their kids and grandkids—but they’re unsure whether they have even accumulated enough wealth to need to build a plan for the long term. They’re probably overwhelmed. You can assist by educating them to think in this way:
Category 2: People who think they don’t have enough assets to bother with estate planning.
These people have some assets, and perhaps a will, but they don’t believe their holdings are sufficient to justify comprehensive planning. A common objection: “Estate planning or trusts are for the wealthy, and I’m not wealthy.”
Your approach: People in Category 2 have a limited understanding of what constitutes “estate planning” or have a mistaken impression about the importance of trusts. Trust-based estate planning can protect assets against excessive taxes, creditors, probate expenses, guardianship or conservatorship court control, unwise spending by beneficiaries, family disputes, and more. In virtually every way, a trust is a better tool than a will, but many people in Category 2 (and the other categories as well), simply don’t know this. Here are a few suggestions for talking with people in Category 2:
Category 3: People who feel estate planning is too difficult or expensive.
People in Category 3 have assets, but they’re either “too busy” or cash poor to address estate planning.
Your approach: Educate these people about the costs of a lack of planning. Remember the adage – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Category 4: People who believe they’ve already done all they need to do.
These people believe they have “finished” their planning.Their set-it-and-forget-it mentality, however, can be dangerous and lead to obsolete estate planning strategies, surprise taxes, and family disputes.
Your approach: People in Category 4 have something to lose, and yet they may be operating under a false sense of security.
We are here to help.
The beginning of a new year presents a great opportunity for you to reach clients and serve them more fully. We are here to answer questions, address concerns, and provide up-to-date resources to help you serve your clients. Call or email us when you and your clients need insight. Here’s to a happy holiday season and prosperous start to 2017!
Sellers Johnson Law • 1 Research Court, Suite 450 • Rockville, Maryland 20850 • (240) 988-5530