69% of Americans say they’ve discussed their will and estate plans with their children, however, 52% of children say that is not the case. (Source: Fidelity Investments)
Seems to be a little gap here.
Parents say they told their kids . . . .
Kids say . . . .not so much.
Talking about money has never been easy. Seems one of those “personal” topics that has always been neglected, like politics, religion and sex. For someone in financial services for over 35 years, I marvel how even people in our industry don’t like to ask certain tough questions of their clients.
Their client’s health apparently being a big “no no”. How can you talk about estate planning and NOT take someone’s health into consideration?
“I’m going to leave you all my assets, son, and good luck.”
As an advisor, are you planning for 10, 20, or 30 years? Does the client have longevity in his family, or is he 200 lbs overweight and ready for his second heart attack? Does it make a difference?
DUH . . . .a . . .YEAH!
Like anything else, the first time doing something new is the toughest. Get yourself prepared . . . a list of questions . . . .and what you want to say.
- The emotional ones are oftentimes felt to be the toughest, but the most important.
- “Tell me about your parents. Are they still alive? If not, when did they pass away and what from? Any genetic concerns we need to consider planning for?”
- “What would you REALLY like to see happen to your assets for your kids and how can I help?”
- Are they concerned that their kids might NOT be able to handle a large sum of money? Trusts can be a potential answer.
- Wills (64% of Americans DON’T have a simple will!) Don’t take it for granted that they do . . .ASK!
- Power of Attorney for financial matters and health care
- “Do you have someone picked out should you need to pass on your power of attorney to execute financial matters on your behalf?”
- “Health care power of attorney is often times overlooked. Have you decided on issues should you become sick? Is resuscitation something you want the family to do or not do for you? Answer those questions now, while you can, so your children aren’t forced into it later.”
- Spending time with the children so they get to know YOU. Not just as their “parent’s financial advisor,” but someone THEY can trust and want to continue to work with after their parents are gone!
Ask the tough questions and your clients, their kids, and their kids’ kids will thank you!!