Estate Planning: Help Clients Get Organized

It’s inevitable. We are all going to die.

With that less than uplifting thought out of the way, let’s talk about helping our clients plan for death! OK, I can see that I am really going to have to work hard to get you excited about this topic…

The truth is, everyone needs to give some thought, and some organization, to the subject of estate planning. And who better to help your clients with that than you, their financial advisor?

You already know a lot about your client’s estate planning situation. Insurance policies, wills, assets, liabilities… these are all data points that you have gathered from your client that are important considerations when planning for your client’s estate. But why stop there?

What about specific requests as your client ages and possibly becomes incapacitated? Questions like who their preferred caregivers are, where they should be cared for if assisted living becomes a requirement, and how your client wishes to deploy assets while incapacitated. These are all important questions that are not spelled out in documents drawn up by an estate planning attorney.

What about final wishes such as where your client is to be buried or cremated? Or what is written in his/her obituary? How about documenting what their funeral preferences are? Again, these are things that are likely very important to your client, but that oftentimes go without ever being formally captured.

Your client has a digital life too. What happens to that digital life when your client passes? Having a list of accounts with IDs and a place to go to get passwords is essential. Your client’s loved ones need to know about those accounts and how to carry out any specific wishes of your client.

The good news: You have the ultimate estate planning client vault and organizational tool at your fingertips. With PreciseFP, you can easily create your own template that captures the above information from your client for future reference. Also, you can periodically send out a pre-filled Engagement using that same template for your client to review and make changes as needed. Since you’re already using PreciseFP for data gathering in other areas, it only makes sense for you to be the gatherer of your clients needs, wants and desires in the area of estate planning as well.

To get started, I recommend customizing your dataset to include fields that you want to capture and store from your client. I would add those fields to the existing Estate Planning section in our default dataset so that they become a part of all of your clients’ profiles..

Next, it’s a matter of creating a template to engage your client. Putting your newly-created dataset fields in your template means your client will be presented with a pre-filled Engagement. This becomes particulary important for yearly reviews so that your client doesn’t have to start from scratch and provide data that has already been provided and hasn’t changed from the prior review.

If you get stuck, chat with us online. We’ll help you get over any hurdles you encounter. We’ll even do a free success coaching session to show you how it’s done.

Don Whalen, CFP®, CEO

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