Estate planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time transaction. While your core objective is to help your clients remain financially sound in the face of whatever comes their way, our core objective is to ensure a client’s estate plan works when it needs to.
Strategies Your Clients Can Use Right Now
It may seem too early to talk about year-end planning. But the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act set many changes in motion for charitable giving. Whether a clients’ charitable giving stems from a concern for those who are less fortunate, the desire to support a particular cause, or an endeavor to gain recognition in their community, the changes to the income tax deductions will likely impact the charitably inclined.
The increase in the standard deduction ($12,000 for individuals, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married couples) means far fewer people will itemize (a requirement to obtain the charitable deduction). Additionally, the $11.18 million estate tax exemption per person means far fewer people have taxable estates now than before the act came into effect. Because of the general reduction tax in tax liability after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, charitable planning no longer has the same tax-saving benefit it once did.
Even against these headwinds, there remain actionable solutions you can implement with your clients to maximize their charitable giving results. When you share these solutions with charitably-minded clients, you enhance the value you provide and deepen your relationships.
Tax-Saving Opportunities for Business Owners
Are any of your business-owning clients curious about the new Section 199A deduction?
Although the deduction became effective on January 1, 2018, guidance on how it would be calculated was delegated to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by Congress. For months, financial and tax professionals have speculated about various aspects of this new deduction since Congress gave us little concrete guidance to work with.
New Developments in August 2018
5 Strategies to Help Pay for a Child’s Academic Future
Higher education costs are just that -higher. The steady increase in educational expenses means your clients have much steeper bills for their children’s college tuitions than they had for their own. To illustrate how stark this contrast is, the average cost of tuition has increased 213 percent in the last 30 years1. To make matters worse, there is no end in sight for this trend.
It’s understandable that the price of higher education is one of the biggest worries looming in your clients’ minds. A defined goal, such as a large purchase or a child’s educational needs, provides much more motivation to clients than an amorphous, abstract goal.
As their financial advisor, you are uniquely positioned to help your clients utilize educational savings tools they may not otherwise be familiar with. Not only will this effort help your clients —it’ll also lead to greater trust in your ability to help your clients strategically position themselves for better financial outcomes overall.
Key Points to Discuss With Your Clients
Like all things, tax laws are constantly changing. An important part of serving your clients is responding quickly and strategically to new developments in the tax law landscape. But at the same time, a knee-jerk reaction is rarely the best course of action—often resulting in unforeseen complications in the future.
The best decisions are made by professional teams working together to analyze all angles of a situation to come up with the best strategy in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a historic amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
The TCJA affects many Americans in a variety of areas of life, and your clients might not be aware of what its impact will be on their long-term financial plan. Of course, this law is going on seven months old, but too many people struggle with taking action in their financial and tax planning lives, so the historic nature of these changes cannot be overstated.
How You Can Keep Claims From Threatening Their Property
Most of us do not expect to be sued. However, lawsuits are filed every day the courthouses are open. If your clients’ estate plans don’t include adequate asset protection, they could end up losing a substantial amount of their wealth in the event of a claim -even a “frivolous” one.
It’s well worth talking to your clients about what asset protection strategies their current plan includes. Many existing plans may need a revamp, while other clients will need to implement a new plan entirely. Shielding their assets and property against legal claims takes sophisticated planning and teamwork. We’re here to help you develop a tailored asset protection strategy for each of your clients.
Several issues and strategies merit examination in your asset protection conversation with your clients.
How to Plan a Successful Financial Future for Every Family
Many clients with concerns about a struggling adult child are apprehensive about discussing such a sensitive topic.But broaching this subject can lead to a number of benefits for all parties involved —for the family, for the adult child, and for you as their financial advisor.
Working with us rounds out the team of professionals needed to achieve the client’s goals and fully protect a client’s family, resolving these sensitive situations smoothly.
Beyond Money in Estate Planning
Many clients and advisors think of estate planning as a logistical process designed to reduce taxes, avoid court, and protect assets. Of course, proper planning does enhance the security of their families and assets, but estate planning is actually much more.
Although we write frequently to you about the tax, asset protection, and court-avoiding benefits of estate planning, the process can also be an expression of love, hopes, dreams, and goals for your clients’ loved ones. There are a number of ways your clients can pass on their legacy to their heirs through archival projects, incentivized trusts, charitable contributions, and more. By highlighting and helping deliver on the human side of estate planning, you can strengthen client relationships and increase retention, build a stable base of long-term retention of assets under management, and become known in your community as an advisor that cares about more than just the numbers.
It’s a common misconception that clients can take a set-it-and-leave-it approach to trusts. Much as houses or office buildings, even those that were originally well-built, must be remodeled or updated from time to time, a trust-centered estate plan can often benefit from a remodel or refresh. Although the principle of trust-centered estate planning has stood the test of time, there are many reasons, such as the recent tax reform, a change in family wealth or circumstances, or just a change in estate planning goals, that may necessitate a remodel for an old trust. Clients gain peace of mind while you get an opportunity to provide value.
Why updating old trusts serves both you and your clients
Your clients may be missing out on lucrative new opportunities, such as income tax planning opportunities to reduce the impact of the new SALT deduction limitation, or necessary protections against overly aggressive creditors unless they update their old trusts. Seizing opportunity and avoiding risk adds value to your services and secures you as their top-of-mind financial professional.
How are you planning to strengthen your client relationships in the new year? Effective collaboration as a client-service wealth team helps your clients trust you, creates better client retention, and yields greater opportunities for placement of appropriate products and growing assets under management.
Estate planning is about much more than just taxes
Many financial advisors see estate planning as a tax-focused discipline. However, estate planning encompasses much more than just tax planning. It provides a great client service, deepens relationships with clients, and can be an integral part of retention. This is especially true now that technology is ushering in a new wave of robo-advisor services. Nothing beats a human team of highly-skilled professionals furthering a broad spectrum of client needs and goals.Continue Reading…