Discussing Final Decisions With Your Clients



As painful an exercise as it can be, clients who are approaching the end of their lives or considering the financial consequences of their own mortality must make dozens of decisions about settling financial accounts for eventual distribution. Making those decisions is easier when a person has someone with whom they can discuss the necessary steps and best procedures, and for many people, their advisor is one of the “someones’’ they approach.

Spectrem’s new study Down to the Last Detail examines the financial preparations affluent individuals can make to transfer wealth when the eventual occurs. The report looks at investors who are arranging their own financial plans as well as investors who work with family members to make determinations about end-of-life finances, as well as those who worked with a family member who has passed away.

Just as it is true that everybody dies, it is also true that everybody knows someone who has passed away. The issues surrounding end-of-life finances get dealt with by almost everyone eventually. As a result, investors have many voices they can listen to regarding the financial arrangements and medical decisions that need to be made regarding the end of life.

In the study, investors were asked “who are you working with for your own end-of-life decisions?”, and the answers were surprisingly widespread. Here are some of the details:

·         Thirty-four percent of all investors discuss end-of-life decisions with family and/or friends. Perhaps that percentage seems a bit low, although many people consider their end-of-life matters to be among the most private decisions they are required to make. That may be why….

·         Twenty-seven percent of investors work with their private attorney regarding final decisions. That may be especially true in situations where a person requires a legal or medical power of attorney and wants to make certain the specifics of the situation are properly dealt with.

·         Twenty-two percent of investors are working or have worked with an estate attorney who is not their private attorney. Again, this may seem like a low percentage, although research shows that the wealthier the investor, the more likely they are to work with an estate attorney.

·         And 22 percent of investors are working or have worked with their financial advisor. A financial advisor can actually provide guidance in many of the specific areas people need to deal with in the end-of-life situation but can also provide referrals to other professionals who may be more knowledgeable about some of those specifics.



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Keywords: wealth transfer, estate planning, last detail, investors, advisors, Spectrem, insurance, communication