Slideshow 5 Steps to Connect With Clients' Kids

  • October 21 2013, 4:06pm EDT
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5 Steps to Connect With Clients' Kids

Over the next 10 – 20 years, trillions of dollars’ worth of financial and non-financial assets are expected to be transferred from the boomers to their heirs. As a result, advisors must be prepared for these changes to make sure that inherited assets will remain with them.

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1. Review everything

When dealing with a large number of assets, it can be easy to miss some of them.

Rieder suggests taking a technical review of all estate related accounts and documents, saying, We find this review often brings in overlooked assets under management.

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2. Expect problems

Even with high net-worth individuals, you should be prepared to face hiccups along the way. Most of these are technical, such as names not being updated on the will or trust, or assets not being moved into living trusts.

Rieder warns, The most serious problems stem from old IRA and 401(k) documents with obsolete named beneficiaries.

3. Make a clear summary

After identifying the problem, present the client with a list of issues that need to be rectified. This can then be taken to the appropriate legal or tax specialists.

We find this step helps establish productive relationships with other professionals serving our client, explains Rieder

4. Explain your findings to the family

Clients may look at the list you have compiled for them and have no idea about what it all means. It is important for you to thoroughly explain the findings to the client, making sure to clarify any technical terms they may not understand. Even better, include the clients’ children and even grandchildren in these meetings – afterall, they are the future.

These meetings help us forge relationships with our clients’ children and grandchildren, Reider says.

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5. Act as an intermediary between clients and their children

Many times, money is a topic that families avoid discussing. This can be due to family members’ uncertainty about conflicting needs, or it may simply just boil down to shyness. When wealth is passed on from one generation to the next, money is only a part of it. Often, what clients hold even more important is their desire to pass down values which inspired them. Dealing with a sensitive topic like money can be tricky. As an advisor, you can help facilitate these discussions among family members.

Advisors can play critical roles in guiding discussions about achieving financial goals through family estate planning, says Rieder.