Advisers put estate planning in “too hard” basket

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Many financial planners put estate planning in the “too hard basket” and simply tell their clients to put a will or a power of attorney in place, says the co-creator of a client engagement platform.

Hans Egger of Astute Wealth Advice has told Wealth Professional TV of the lack of engagement between clients and advisers about estate planning, which he said is a highly important and difficult area.

“Estate planning is complex and to do it properly requires the collaboration between your accountant, your lawyer, and your financial planner,” he said. “[But] financial planners are well-placed to assist in the process.”

This is because planners understand what assets clients hold and where, what life insurance is in place, and how superannuation and pension are treated within estate planning.

Typically they also have a very good relationship with their clients and are therefore able to ask the more personal questions to discover whether the estate planning solutions required are more complex than just “get a will and a power of attorney”.

Egger said, for example, someone with a 25-year-old daughter embarking on her first de facto relationship may not want to leave her $1 million directly.

“That relationship may not last, and those funds would be at risk,” he said.

As a result of the perceived need for better understanding and education within this type of planning, Astute Wealth Advice has just added an estate planning section to their Astute Wheel solution, an online tool that simplifies the process for any clients.

The tool involves a series of online steps that helps planners to guide their clients through the estate planning process.

It includes building a family tree and an entity diagram with the client.

“We can then visually display to the client what assets are held in various entities and how they would be treated if no will existed,” said Eggers. “We can identify potential problems and determine possible solutions.”

The system then generates a number of options for the client to consider, and produces a briefing paper that they can take to their solicitor to confidently work through the process and get needed documents in place.

See Wealth Professional TV’s video interview with Egger here.

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  • Paul on 6/05/2014 3:43:17 PM

    Have we created somewhat of a self fulfilling environment in describing Estate Planning as "difficult" & "complex"......notwithstanding these negative implications how can it not be an obligation, how can planners not see the professional & commercial leverage.? Cynically does one wonder that as there is no obvious "product solution" that there is minimal adviser & Dealer Group interest?......Integrity, ethics & shortsightedness all come to mind.

  • Vic Ruth on 10/05/2014 9:02:49 AM

    Clients are apathetic about estate planning which means most advisers do not follow it through. The other problem is estate planning is a relational process and sadly many advisers lack the relationship skills to work in these markets. The industry is has become product focused at the expense of these more complex services. The big sleeper in the industry is estate redemptions because many adviser's through apathy and lack of competency have dying client bases.

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