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The Basics of Estate and Life Planning

It's important your clients have a plan for carrying out medical and financial decisions in case they become unable to do so. Estate planning tends to get put on the back burner, so don’t let your clients make this huge mistake. Knowing what issues should be of concern will help you advise your clients as they make these plans. 


Draft a will and actually sign it.


Once your clients are happy with their will, make sure they actually sign it. "Oftentimes, it becomes a priority only when there is a health scare or some other life change." said Nicole Hart, director of trusts and estates at New York-based Sontag Advisory in a recent article. Hart also said that she's seen clients wait years before signing a drafted will. Advise your clients against this because if left unsigned, their will may never be carried out. 


Estate planning should reflect life stage.


Your clients should modify their estate planning based on major life events. Make sure clients know the documents they should execute based on different situations. For example, after turning 18, they should establish a power of attorney for financial and healthcare matters. After the birth of a child, clients will need to fill out guardianship papers.  Leanna Hamill, an estate planning and elder law attorney, recommends clients in their 40s and 50s buy long-term care insurance to cover extended care or a nursing home.

Dealing with ancillary administration.


If your client has property in a state other than their state of residence and that is included in their inheritance, an ancillary administrator from the state will execute any needed ligation and collect the asset. The executor or administrator of the estate selects the ancillary administrator.


Your client may not bring up the topic of estate planning, but it is in their best interest that you as their financial planner assist them in preparing for any situation. To be prepared for this conversation, sign up for our estate and life planning webinar.

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