Estate planning can be an overwhelming experience for many—some people may become “blank” when devising their estate plans because they don’t know where to start or how to proceed. Not to mention, if estate planning is done poorly, it could lead to complications and disputes among family members.

As a Financial Adviser, this is where you come in. Financial Advisers provide valuable information that can help in assisting clients in drafting their estate plans. Because they have access to clients’ financial portfolios, they can work closely with clients and ensure that all of the clients’ assets are included in their estate plans.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning may seem like it is only for the rich, but it’s for everyone, regardless of their age or status. Estate planning refers to managing any amount of assets, including bank accounts, property or life insurance policy that someone has when they pass away. In simpler terms, estate planning is what decides who gets what and who gets to make decisions on behalf of the deceased.

There are many steps involved in estate planning, which includes will writing, appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), setting up trusts, and many more. Therefore, it’s highly beneficial for Financial Advisers to equip themselves with knowledge and skills of financial planning if they wish to have an edge over 20,000 other Financial Advisers.

As a Financial Adviser, what are the 5 things you need on your estate planning checklist?

1) Will

Without a will, the estate planning process can get complicated. Find out more here. When assisting clients with will writing, you need to have the appropriate identification documents. This may sound silly but you must be able to prove that your clients are who they say they are. Get the identification documents of the testator, beneficiaries, executors, and guardians.

2) Relationship documents

What if your client is married or divorced during the estate planning process? These are major life events that you, as a Financial Adviser, must be aware of. Therefore, when working with clients, always make sure that you have any of the client’s relationship documents such as their marriage certificate, pre- or postnuptial agreements, divorce papers, or even their adoption papers.

3) The client’s list of assets

Is it a good idea to keep some assets undisclosed from Financial Advisers? When drafting a will or estate planning, Financial Advisers must make a comprehensive list of assets owned by the client. Therefore, Financial Advisers should have a wide overview of the client’s financial situation. This list includes:

  • Insurance policies

– Life insurance

– Health insurance with death benefits

  • Retirement accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment portfolios
  • Titles and ownership
  • Intellectual properties
  • Other assets such as books, jewellery, collections, and non-monetary sentimental items

4) The client’s list of liabilities

Again, it’s never a good idea to keep important details from Financial Advisers, especially when it comes to liabilities. Who will then pay off these liabilities once the client passes away? As a Financial Adviser, you must know your client’s list of liabilities to assist them in their estate planning. Some of the things that you need to pay attention to are:

  • Outstanding tax
  • Bank loans
  • Mortgages
  • Education loans
  • Credit cards
  • Loans from a sibling (Informal debts)

5) Death certificates

Another important step that should be in your estate planning checklist is to obtain the original death certificates of your client, the client’s next of kin if they have passed on, and the death certificate of the executor if they have passed on.

As a last piece of advice, always have a checklist with all the necessary documents you need from your client. This is to avoid the hassle of having to go back and forth with them. It’s also a good idea to get not only the contact details of your client but also the beneficiaries so that it’s easier for you to work and communicate with them.

Want to learn more about will writing? Stay tuned for more workshops from us! If you want to get the ideal probate solutions for you, visit Probate Enterprise.