Economists predict that in the next generation we will see an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the senior generation to their heirs, amounting to tens of trillions of dollars changing hands. For the ultra wealthy, having a comprehensive estate plan is essential to maintaining and passing on the wealth they have accumulated.
Although the importance of an estate plan may be apparent to them, the difficulty arises when the level of complexity goes beyond their understanding. One naturally assumes that a wealthy or financially successful individual would be sophisticated enough to understand estate planning.
While some can or will, more often than not, they do not have the time it takes to understand the legal concepts and technical language involved with sophisticated estate planning. The client’s estate planning attorney would be the obvious person to answer questions the client and his or her family have.
Affluent clients left confused
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A recent survey conducted by Prince & Associates found that more than 90% of the wealthiest families polled could not determine if the final plan presented by their attorney would help them accomplish their goals. The same survey found that more than 80% of attorneys failed to follow up with a client for whom they had designed and prepared estate plans that were never implemented.
Unfortunately, attorneys more often than not fail to identify the client’s estate planning need, clearly explain the strategies and their impact on the client’s estate. Or they fail to follow up with the client to make sure the documents are executed or the plan is implemented. While you cannot replace an attorney, this failure presents an opportunity for you, the life insurance professional, to help ultra wealthy clients understand and implement intricate estate planning strategies.
Traditionally, life insurance professionals have deferred to attorneys to explain and guide clients through the estate planning process. It is clear, however, that a need exists to help clients understand their estate plan. You have a unique opportunity to step into the role of a trusted family advisor if you can assist the client in successfully navigating the estate planning process. Taking on this role creates opportunities to develop and keep a long-term relationship with your clients.
Bring clarity to complex strategies