Ike Trotter, financial advisor, spoke to NAIFA audience members about the importance and misconceptions of estate planning.
The problems with the general opinion on estate planning are:
– It’s only for the wealthy
– It focuses entirely too much on death
Trotter submitted a five-step approach on what agents must do to change their clients’ perceptions on estate planning and emphasize the importance of it.
Step one: Adherence to a financial plan. You must help your client determine where they are financially, where their financial future is headed and help them determine the necessary steps toward reaching their goal.
Step two: Encourage clients to get their legal affairs in order. Push the importance of creating a will and preparing for incapacity, whether rom age, a disability or death. Also, emphasize the importance of a power of attorney and to confirm their beneficiary designations are accurate and up-to-date.
Step three: Make sure your clients are knowledgeable about key components of Social Security and Medicare.
Step four: Help your client establish economic well-being. Take them through their funds and where those funds came from, and then help them prepare for any intentional (paying taxes, marriage, educating kids) or unintentional (disabilities, old age, losing your job) spending that might come their way. Help them recognize and address those issues as soon as possible, because in life, there are no guarantees.
As Trotter said, “There is no better security, no better peace of mind, than knowing you’ve established a financial plan and are organized.”
Step five: Establish and or improve your clients’ financial organization. Assist them in making contact lists, preparing an inventory of what documents are important and keeping that information up to date.