Morgan Stanley is expanding its recently introduced Estate and Inheritor Services team, according to Lisa Golia, head of Field Strategic Services at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. The program lets advisors offer “concierge support” to clients and family members for account processing, including a quick wealth transfer when a client dies.
“When a client passes away, there’s really a number of complex steps that need to be taken to ensure that the assets can be transferred properly to the beneficiaries on the estate,” Golia told ThinkAdvisor in a recent phone interview.
That includes “a lot of complex paperwork and a lot of the rules vary state by state,” she noted, adding that there’s a need to “navigate through all of those state-specific rules and the documentation” involved.
Prior to their access to the new Estate and Inheritor Services team, Morgan Stanley advisors and other service professionals “would manage this process themselves” on behalf of their clients — as do branch offices without access to the new team, Golia said.
Because “this is not something typically that happens if you’re an advisor often, luckily,” the process becomes “even more complicated because it’s not something [done by them] day in and day out,” she explained.
The new initiative launched in late 2019, and Morgan Stanley now has 25 professionals supporting select U.S. branches working on these services. The new service will be rolled out to more branches in 2021.
“We’ll continue to hire and train an additional 25 [or so] people as we expand to roughly 80% of the branches by the end of 2021,” Golia said. “We will reassess late next year how many additional staff we will need in 2022, in order to complete the rollout.”
None of the team members are advisors, since Morgan Stanley aims for them to be estate experts focused solely on this effort, she explained.