Estate and Wealth Planning Checklist
Adding value to a client doesn't have to be complicated; sometimes, it's as simple as making sure your client's loved ones are taken care of if something were to happen to your client.
The checklists available to download below can be used to help clients optimize their planning — wherever they are in their estate planning journey.
But first, what is estate planning?
Estate planning encompasses two types of planning:
- Foundational estate planning, which is a "starter pack" of legal documents in case the client is incapacitated, unavailable, or has passed away.
- Wealth or tax planning, which is tax- or control-driven transfers into trusts, entities or accounts.
Every single one of your clients needs a foundational estate plan - and knows it. You can deliver massive value just by helping them check that box off. Then, you can graduate your client into the more complex transfers if they need it.
What Comprises the Foundational Estate Plan?
- Revocable or Living Trust
- Advance Directive Over Health Care Matters
- Durable Power of Attorney Over Financial Matters
Review the legal documents alongside all beneficiary designations (e.g., IRAs, 401 (k)s and life insurance) and right of survivorship designations (e.g., WROS on financial accounts and real estate). These designations override the Will or Trust, which may come as a surprise to your client. Designations are often used as stop gap solutions until someone has a proper Will or Trust, at which point the designations may be removed in favor of the estate or be "funded" (i.e., transferred) into the Trust.
*An attorney or digital estate planning platform like wealth.com can help your client determine if a Trust is more appropriate than a standalone Will. The key consideration is whether avoiding a full-blown probate process, including privacy, is important to your client.
How often do you find wrong or missing beneficiaries when you go over the Will or Trust of a client (or potential client)?
Our partner Retirement Tax Services found that over 60% of prospective clients have wrong or missing beneficiaries, when they have an estate plan at all. That means the prospective client would be leaving assets to someone they didn't expect at all. This is when the client has that "aha" or "I can't believe this" moment.
Using the checklists included in the PDF below can help advisors create these "aha" moments and improve their clients overall financial wellbeing with better estate planning.