As a seasoned financial advisor, you know that your job is about so much more than monitoring the stock market. It all starts with the first meeting with the client – not only are they asking for information in dollars and cents, but also for details about their job, the intricacies of their family dynamics, and their vision for their legacy. As you get to know them and their unique situation, you will find that you are not only offering your financial knowledge, but also acting as a therapist, confidante and fortune teller, helping them overcome current and future challenges and holding them accountable for their decisions . This diverse relationship allows you to create a holistic estate plan that reflects their priorities and above all protects them, from tax burdens to partnership dissolution.
However, over time, you may find yourself checking in with them less often – a common danger to financial advisers if their investments do well. There are a variety of life events that leave the estate open to challenge and can have potentially devastating financial and personal consequences. Here are some tips to help keep your relationship going and improve your client’s inheritance plan.
Invite them to share. Changes in a customer’s personal life often turn out to be problematic later on. However, you may not be aware of the implications or be too involved in what is happening to address it. Common examples include their decision to disinherit an heir with whom they are estranged or to impose conditions on an inheritance when the heir has drug abuse or legal problems. It would be impossible, let alone inadequate, to keep track of everything; However, keeping in touch regularly to see how your client is doing will remind you that you care and that they are responsible for keeping you updated. The key here is to find a balance – you want to keep the tone of this communication informal and friendly while also getting information that you need to know.
Educate them further. At the beginning of your relationship, you likely explained to your client that their estate plan is a living document that can change depending on a variety of things. You expect any financial advisor to deal with changing tax laws and other laws. Sharing relevant content (such as articles and studies) will keep you separate from the herd and keep track of the consequences of events such as marriage and divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or the death of an heir or trustee.
Make it easy for them to get in touch with them. There are a variety of digital tools that make financial decisions easier to discuss and implement. However, not every client will be ready to use them. Some may be suspicious of electronically signing a downloaded document, while others prefer all-in-one solutions that allow them to share sensitive information and do a variety of tasks from their mobile phone. By teaching them the benefits of such tools, they can take responsibility for their financial decisions and involve you more proactively as you learn how to create a holistic estate plan. The key is to meet each customer where they are – even if that means picking up the phone – and then help them get out of their comfort zone.
When life is busy, it is easy to lose touch with customers, especially if there are no fires to put out. For the same reason, if their life changes, you can’t assume that you will be the first call they make. In fact, studies show that many people, including HNWI, fail to update their estate plan until it’s too late. Remember that an empowered customer is a happy customer. By maintaining a constant flow of communication, you can focus on your primary goal – building and maintaining their prosperity for generations to come.
Read More Now