Fact: Everyone Dies
It has been reported that 55% of Americans don’t have a will, leaving them vulnerable to costly court fees and legal battles. Those who do have their wills drawn up are generally older — historically, over 90% of probated wills have been made by individuals who were 60 years old or older. Additionally, probate costs American families up to $2 billion per year, of which up to $1.5 billion is paid in attorney fees. These costs can often be avoided with timely and knowledgeable estate planning.
Although many securities representatives are not qualified to provide legal or tax advice, many clients look to their securities representatives for help in planning for the disposition of their assets. Representatives who educate themselves about estate planning can provide a valuable service for clients navigating this often daunting and complicated process.
With proper estate planning, a financial representative can help their clients develop a plan that will ensure peace of mind regarding some of their greatest fears surrounding their ultimate demise:
- Who will inherit my assets?
- In what situations will I need a power of attorney?
- What if I suffer from loss of capacity?
- What will happen to my retirement accounts?
- How can I avoid the expense of probate?
- What will happen to my business interests?
This month’s newsletter, “The Role of a Registered Representative in Estate Planning” provides an overview of the extent to which a securities representative can be a part of the estate planning process — a process that every retail client will need. The article discusses specific questions to ask clients, taxation issues, the analysis of client data, and the regulatory concerns surrounding professional designations in the estate planning process.
About the Course
Estate Planning will help representatives, their supervisors, and any financial services industry professional learn how to better assist clients with this important task. While sometimes difficult to discuss, a well-conceived estate plan is critical to long-term financial success for families. This course outlines the necessary information to gather from clients to help educate them about their estate planning options.
Topics such as financial powers of attorney, life insurance, and living wills, which set forth a client’s wishes regarding medical decisions, are discussed. In addition, asset distribution upon the client’s death and beneficiary designations are highlighted. Finally, taxation issues and how the appropriate plans and investment vehicles can help maximize an estate’s value are reviewed. Students who complete Estate Planning will be in a better position to help their clients develop, review, and execute basic estate planning.