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Eight secrets of Successful Estate Planning

ChangeGPS // Practice Management, Estate Planning

These top tips will help you build a more effective and profitable estate planning business.

Use technology to create your own documents

Many accountants believe they must rely on lawyers to produce the documents needed for an estate plan. This isn’t the case – and, thanks to innovative technology, you can do the job quickly and easily. For example, just as Change GPS Specialist Accounting Software provides standardised tools and templates to simplify the entire estate planning process, LightYear Docs includes a range of document templates tailored to your needs. However large or small your practice, you can simply add the relevant details to create your own professional and fully compliant documentation.

Be ready to explain the value of estate planning

Some clients might see estate planning as an unnecessary expense. They may think a will is all they need, or underestimate the total value of their assets. You can help them to understand that, unlike a will, an estate plan is a strategy to ensure their wealth will be distributed as they wish while keeping tax to a minimum. An estate plan can also set out their preferences for their financial affairs, medical treatment and lifestyle if they should ever lose the ability to make those decisions for themselves.Reassure your clients that their will can’t be challenged

Sometimes clients will exclude people from their will who expect to inherit. If they’re worried the will might be challenged, you can create an estate plan that leaves nothing in the estate. This could include gifting equity wealth to a family protection trust, gifting assets before death and taking out insurance policies in the name of the family protection trust rather than the individual. They can also request that their SMFS goes into a death benefits trust. A family protection trust and an SMSF death benefits trust are completely separate from the estate and, as such, can’t be contested.

Help clients understand the difference between estate and non-estate assets

Not all assets are automatically part of an estate. Those known as non-estate assets can be included but need to be specified – and this may not always be to the family’s advantage. For example, after a death, the trustee of a super fund can quickly pay the money to one or more named beneficiaries. However, if super is part of the estate, the beneficiaries will have to wait for probate and then, if there’s a family provisions challenge, there could be a further wait of up to four years.

Introduce the exclusive leading member discretionary trust

Your clients need to understand different discretionary trusts. For example, a testamentary trust is created by a will and usually gives the trustee full discretion in terms of who benefits and what they receive. By contrast, a family protection trust can be included in the estate plan. This is generally set up to hold a family's assets or to conduct a family business for asset protection or tax purposes. LightYear Docs has also developed the exclusive leading member discretionary trust which adds benefits including a clear line of succession in the event of death, divorce, dementia or bankruptcy.

Know your way around an SMSF

Before talking to clients about SMSFs it’s important to familiarise yourself with the basics. For example, you should feel confident about discussing a reversionary pension, a death benefit pension and how a death benefit lump sum is treated. You need to know your responsibilities after a client’s death, which could include managing an extended power of attorney, arranging the appointment of a company trustee or lodging a T-bar report. And, in case your client decides not to continue with an SMSF, you should also know how to wind up a fund.

You’ll want to know about transfer balance caps, including the difference between general and personal transfer balance caps. Finally, your paperwork should be complete, structured correctly and ready to satisfy an auditor.

Partner with a skilled lawyer

Accountants can contribute a great deal to an estate plan but there are still a couple of areas where legal input is either helpful or necessary. Building a relationship with the right lawyer can bring the best possible outcome for your clients – and your business. As well as having estate planning experience, the lawyer you choose should understand and respect the value of your own skills and client knowledge.

See for yourself how technology makes estate planning easy

ChangGPS and LightYear Docs can take the hard work out of providing your clients with a valuable service. Find out more by contacting us now on [phone number and/or email] to book a no-obligation free consultation. We’ll be happy to show just how easy it can be to grow your business with estate planning.


Change GPS can make it easy to expand your services

Whatever size your practice is now, you could profit by putting yourself at the heart of estate planning. And, thanks to innovative technology, expanding your business can mean working smarter, not harder.

For example, Change GPS Specialist Accounting Software provides standardised tools, templates, workpapers and more to streamline and simplify the entire estate planning process, boosting your efficiency as it lowers your costs. Once it’s in place, you’ll also be ready to grasp new opportunities as they arise.

Find out more by contacting us now to book a no-obligation free consultation. We’ll be happy to show just how easily you can grow.



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