Your failure to instill in your clients your ability to lead a discussion about important estate planning topics is costing you business. To grow your business, you need to expand your estate planning expertise. You should be giving your clients guidance on general estate planning and tax strategies.
You should talk to your wealth management clients about estate planning issues. If you are not talking to them about estate planning issues, it's likely that no one is. Or, worse yet, if you do not bring up estate planning issues to your wealth management clients, then your competitor may be discussing these issues with your clients.
Your estate planning conversations with your financial planning clients must be meaningful enough to have impact. The conversations should not be esoteric conversations that consist of technical legal strategies for the super-wealthy.
Many wealth managers mistakenly feel that they have to show off their estate planning technical expertise by talking to their wealth management clients about things like:
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Intentionally defective grantor trust
- Qualified personal residence trusts
- Qualified terminable interest property trusts
- Crummey trusts
- Credit shelter trusts
- Generation skipping transfer tax
But people don't want to discuss the above-described items when they are talking to a professional about their estate. You'll be better off having conversations that start like:
- What's most important to you about setting up your estate?
- What in your past impacts how you want to set up your estate?
- What individuals and organizations do you want to include in your estate plan? Why?
- What will your children think of you if you set things to make it easy for them?
- What will your children say about you if you leave them a mess to settle?
As you clients answer these initial questions, you should ask follow-up questions like:
- Why did you mention that? Or
- Tell me more about that answer.
Listen very carefully to their responses, and then give me a call to set up a time where we can all get together to talk more in-depth about their family. You'll likely be the first person to have a meaningful conversation with them about their estate, and you'll be one step closer to preserving your client's business, and even keeping the business after your client passes away.
Now go leave a legacy!