The old saying is "You can't take it with you.” But advisors can help clients pass on their wishes and their assets with a smart legacy plan.
As advisors, we’re privy to clients’ very personal goals and concerns. We may witness firsthand how they overcome career obstacles to reach financial stability. We may counsel them when they become parents, and we’re there when they feel the sting of losing their own parents. Perhaps most importantly, we help them plan to support and protect their loved ones.
While many advisors help clients grow their assets, I believe that it’s equally important to guide clients during the legacy planning stage. The emotional value for clients in having a trusted advisor through every life stage is clear. Yet legacy planning also may help you develop deeper relationships with your clients’ entire family, including their heirs.
In fact, family-centered legacy planning is a growing and perhaps unmet need:
- Baby boomers are inheriting $12 trillion in assets in the “Great Transfer.”1
- Generation X and Millennials are set to inherit $30 trillion over the next 30 years.2
- 73% of firms say that developing relationships with high-net-worth clients’ children is a challenge to their businesses.3
- Yet 41% of wealth advisors don’t offer family wealth planning services to their high-net-worth clients.4
- And half of advisors meet with their clients’ children once a year – or less.5
So what more can you do to help meet clients’ legacy planning needs and build relationships with their heirs?
Understand clients’ wealth landscape
After building or guarding wealth during their lives, many clients, particularly high-net-worth families, feel a strong desire to maintain control over their financial legacy. To better understand their needs, ask the right questions:
- Is your legacy about ensuring your loved ones are cared for?
- Is your legacy about creating or protecting a tradition of family wealth?
- Is your legacy about making an impact on a cause that’s meaningful to you?
We’ve talked before about how to customize legacy planning based on the answers to these questions. Engaging in this conversation with clients and their families can help you better understand their needs and deepen your relationships.
Bring your tax-savvy to the table
As your higher-net-worth clients likely know, taxes are at the highest levels in 30 years.6 Clients want to do as much as they can to protect their wealth from taxes. The same is true when it comes to leaving a legacy, whether their goal is to gift money to their alma mater, provide for surviving family members, or preserve wealth for generations to come. To help build and preserve clients’ legacies, consider the features and benefits of an investment-only annuity. By helping to make the most of their assets, you’ll demonstrate your value to clients and their heirs.
1Accenture “The ‘Greater’ Wealth Transfer: Capitalizing on the Intergenerational Shift in Wealth.” Accenture. July 2012.
2Skinner, Liz. “The great wealth transfer is coming, putting advisers at risk.” InvestmentNews. July 13, 2015. http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150713/FEATURE/150719999/the-great-wealth-transfer-is-coming-putting-advisers-at-risk.
3The Cerulli Report - U.S. High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth Markets 2016: Understanding the Long-Term Impact of Wealth Transfer
4Cerulli, “High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth Markets,” 2015.
5Skinner, Liz. “The great wealth transfer is coming, putting advisers at risk.” InvestmentNews. July 13, 2015.
6Federal Reserve Economic Data from June 28, 2016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Lincoln Financial Group® affiliates, their distributors, and their respective employees, representatives, and/or insurance agents do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. Please consult an independent advisor as to any tax, accounting, or legal statements made herein.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For more than 22 years, Christopher H. Price, JD, LLM, CLU®, ChFC®, AVP, Advanced Sales, Lincoln Financial Distributors, has helped advisors and their clients accumulate, distribute and transfer annuity assets by using a holistic approach. In 1983, he began his career as a trust officer with Sovran Bank (now Bank of America). Chris moved into financial planning, and followed that by managing an insurance agency that served some of the wealthiest families in the country. In 1994, Chris joined Delaware Investments, formerly a member of Lincoln Financial Group, where he was responsible for the product management of Delaware mutual funds and eventually Lincoln variable annuities. From 2000 to 2004, Chris used his expertise to help financial advisors and their clients with advanced case issues. In 2005, he transitioned to the Lincoln Advanced Sales team. Chris holds a BA in history from Vassar College, and law and master’s degrees from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary.