Four steps to smoother estate planning

trustees Australian Executor Trustees estate planning

31 January 2022
| By Laura Dew |
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There are four steps advisers can take to help a family with their estate planning, according to Australian Executor Trustees.

The firm said less than half of Australians had a will in place which made it difficult if a person died unexpectedly or had a complicated family.

This left a role for financial advisers to smooth the process and tackle estate planning concerns.

The first steps were getting to know the family and involving them in discussions about the transfer of wealth.

Anu Menon, business development manager at AET, said: “Extending your knowledge of clients by talking about their whole family helps to build trust and opens links to other family members. Consider drawing out a family tree as part of your discovery process and asking open-ended questions.

“The best way to help families navigate the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next is to help them form a planned purpose for the family’s wealth and establish an estate plan. Unfortunately, most families find talking about money awkward and uncomfortable, particularly if it’s to discuss where it goes and what happens after death.

“Taking a family-based advice model means opening the lines of communication within families and driving the estate planning conversation at a family level.”

Possible risks that should be discussed included whether help would be needed to manage the inheritance, any risk of a family breakdown or conflict, any bankruptcy risk and whether any beneficiaries had disabilities.

The next step would then be engaging the next generation to gain loyalty, this could be done via financial education, roundtable discussions and speaking their language as they had different needs and preferences to baby boomers.

Finally, the adviser should integrate themselves as the ‘go-to adviser’ for the family which would help to build a long-lasting relationship and allow the adviser to understand the situation clearly

“Be the go-to-person for the family, so that on your client’s death, it’s you they call on to tell them what they need to do, who to call, where the Will is kept, what assets and liabilities there are,” Menon said.

“Supporting the family during the difficult experience of a death of a loved one will solidify your existing relationships and form new ones with the family.”

 

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