The prospect of dying is sobering, but a trusted financial advisor can be invaluable in arranging your final affairs. They are invaluable in helping you plan for the future and ensuring that your legacy is passed on to the people and causes you care about without any hiccups after you pass away.
It’s reasonable to worry that your heirs will only be prepared to make the most of their unexpected windfall if they become financially independent. It has been widely reported that millennials, for example, prefer Robo-advisors or investing heavily in risky asset classes on their own rather than working with a human financial planner.
However, a recent survey by FreeWill suggests that many inheriting individuals may be more willing to work with an advisor once they receive their windfall. Specifically, 43% of people said they would be more likely to keep their family’s financial adviser if that adviser also had expertise in estate planning.
So, how is your financial planner equipped to help your family with estate planning?
Here are three indicators that this is not their first (estate planning) time at the proverbial bat:
They Won’t Assume That You Want Your Property Divided Among Your Children.
Lifetime trusts are a popular option recommended by estate planners for distributing assets to beneficiaries after the grantor’s death. These trusts do not expire when the beneficiary reaches a certain age (such as 25) or when a specific event (such as college graduation) occurs. Creditor protection, significant tax advantages, and more may all be provided.
Expert financial planners know the value of trusting their clients to protect and pass on their wealth. Your advisor has already assisted you in putting this plan into action.
An adept financial planner will ask you about the beneficiary’s expected income and lifestyle changes in addition to the amount they will receive. Your loved ones will depend on your recommendations after you’re gone, so they must have accurate information.
To illustrate: suppose your beneficiary cannot dispose of their own estate’s property because they lack the legal right to do so. A competent advisor can help ensure this asset is left out of the will. With such instructions, the will administration could be more straightforward, more timely, and cost more than necessary if the beneficiary was given something they did not own.
They take excessive time researching your non-probate assets and determining who should receive them.
The typical adult in the United States owns several assets that do not pass through probate, such as a life insurance policy. Most Americans still need to correctly name beneficiaries for at least one of these types of assets. Serious (like a former partner inheriting instead of a preferred family member or charity of choice) and expensive repercussions can result from ignoring this issue (like extra administrative costs to deal with an inaccurate or incomplete form).
An expert in financial planning knows that most Americans need help to keep track of their non-probate assets, particularly when designating beneficiaries or updating them to reflect changed circumstances. It’s a process that many people find difficult, tedious, or upsetting (since considering the ultimate payout means thinking about death).
Financial advisors are in a prime position to assist clients with estate planning because they have access to information that an attorney handling the client’s estate won’t. If the client has a brokerage account that has yet to be transferred to their revocable living trust, or if they own an insurance policy instead of an irrevocable life insurance trust (which could help save on estate taxes), they may be the first to notice.
Your final wishes and financial matters will be carried out more smoothly if you take the time to name and update the beneficiaries of your non-probate assets. The assistance of a reliable advisor can and should be integrated into the procedure.
They Would Like to Confer With Your Family Members.
Take advantage of your advisor’s offer to meet the people your assets may one day belong to if they show interest in doing so. It’s free and could do wonders for your family’s ability to plan for the future and understand money. As a bonus, this can make estate planning more accessible and help young people develop healthy financial habits before they inherit anything.
Briefly Summing Up
If you have millennial descendants, now is as good a time as any to introduce them to financial planning with the help of a financial adviser.
While most Millennials acknowledge the importance of consulting an expert when making financial decisions, many have articulated the steps they would need to take to make an appointment with their family’s current financial adviser—an accountant with experience in estate planning.