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3 minute read

How To Implement Estate Planning Into Your Financial Planning Process

Hear from Financial Advisor, Samuel Deane, on how to implement estate planning into your financial planning process.

Samuel Deane

Samuel Deane, @samueldeane

Founder, Deane Wealth Management

Estate planning is a crucial component of comprehensive financial planning. At Deane Wealth Management, we've developed a proven approach to integrate estate planning into our financial planning offering seamlessly. I like to think of the estate planning process as a series of sections: education, action, accountability, follow-up, and future planning opportunities. Let's dive into how we guide our clients through this framework.

Education

Having meaningful conversations with our clients begins with education, and financial advisors are best positioned to deliver that value. From my experience, demystifying estate planning has helped build trust with the families we're working with. With this in mind, clients generally appreciate our comprehensive approach and feel more confident in our expertise, leading to a stronger, long-term professional relationship. At our core, we believe in empowering our clients with knowledge. Here's how we do it:

Action

Our action phase is immediately after our "Intro to Estate Planning" meeting, which is mainly focused on education and answering clients' questions about the process. After the meeting, we send clients a follow-up email inviting them to the Trust & Will platform using an email template we created. We include helpful resources from Trust & Will, including the Learn Center articles mentioned above to reinforce the concepts discussed, a breakdown of the Five Estate Planning Documents that comprise a comprehensive estate plan, and the Estate Plan Framework. I've found that many families have difficulty navigating these conversations, so these are great tools to help clients create their estate plans and be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Most importantly, we agree on deadlines. It's worth mentioning that many clients can procrastinate or let creating the estate plan slip through the cracks altogether. Considering this, our process includes scheduling a working meeting to finish the online questionnaire together, if needed. 

Accountability

"I invite my clients to the platform, and they do nothing." I hear this fairly often from the advisor community. Let's face it: it's simply an excuse. Accountability is the hard part, and it's where most advisors struggle. Like anything else pertaining to running an RIA, I recommend creating workflows and processes to ensure that action items don't slip through the cracks. This is where technology shines. We integrate Trust & Will with our CRM for client planning process tracking. We also leverage Knudge, a task management software for financial advisors, to keep everyone honest and track outstanding action items. With this intention, between our tech stack and workflows, we know where clients are in the planning process at all times. 

Follow-up

Estate planning has lots of nuances and unexpected moving pieces. After creating their estate plan, we meet with clients to discuss post-estate plan action items. Common action items at this stage of the process include getting documents signed and notarized, facilitating deed transfers, retitling assets, revising beneficiaries, and so forth. For accountability, we agree on deadlines and schedule automated reminders to keep everyone on track. After our final review of the estate plan, we find it beneficial to schedule a family meeting to introduce ourselves as their advisor and ensure all parties are on the same page and know their role. 

Future Planning Opportunities 

In the ever-evolving journey of life, estate planning is not just a one-time endeavor but an ongoing process that adapts and grows with you. As life unfolds, various events can significantly impact your client's estate plan, necessitating timely revisions and considerations. Changes in tax laws, for instance, can alter the financial landscape, potentially affecting how their assets should be managed or distributed. Major life milestones like purchasing a new home, getting married, or welcoming a new family member are joyful occasions that also bring with them the need for updates in their estate planning. Each of these events can change how clients wish to allocate their assets and who they want to benefit from their legacy. Similarly, embarking on new ventures such as starting a business introduces additional layers of financial complexity, which must be carefully integrated into their existing plan. It's essential to view estate planning as a living, breathing strategy that grows and adjusts with their life's journey. Regular reviews and updates, guided by a knowledgeable advisor, ensure that their estate plan remains aligned with their evolving goals and circumstances, securing not just their legacy, but also the peace of mind for you as their advisor as well as their loved ones. 

Download this checklist for helpful ideas about future planning opportunities.

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement  options today!

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Browse more topics in our learn center or chat with a live member support representative! 

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.

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