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How you can own the estate planning space

ChangeGPS // Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Practice Management

Offering additional services to your clients can be a little nerve-wracking. We break down some of the most common questions accountants ask about moving into estate planning, and what you can do to “own the space”.

Every client needs estate-planning assistance – and this is a great way to grow your accounting business and revenue stream. Still, you may have some reservations, especially around preparing the correct documents and whether you’re legally protected if you offer advice in this area. Here’s what you need to know.

We provide the correct documents to kick-start your new offering

Each client is different and requires a tailored strategy, but there are some documents that are essential, particularly around structures. For example, your clients may want to set up a family protection trust that ensures their wealth is kept within their family’s bloodline. It’s important when setting up any structure that the right questions are asked.

Our software tools not only help support your recommendations, but also include the documentation you need to get things set up, such as letters of advice. When you initially start providing a new service, it’s easy to feel uncertain if what you’re doing is correct, so this support helps you build that confidence as you become familiar with the process. It’s just like doing a tax return – it probably took you a few before you got into the flow of doing those, and it’s the same with estate-planning advice – you can’t give it unless you understand what you’re doing.

If you need legal and personal support, we can help you

You may think that only lawyers can give estate-planning advice. But is that really true? Isn’t a trusted accountant, who knows his or her client’s business inside-out the best person to provide estate-planning advice. Lawyers generally provide transactional services: most people go to them once, perhaps for conveyancing or to have a will written – services that require little empathy.

However, by contrast, you have many touchpoints with your clients during the year. You do their BAS, work out their GST, submit their tax returns – you understand the structures they have in place and know their family situation. Therefore, when it comes to estate planning, you’re perfectly placed to advise them.

We’re strong advocates for accountants undertaking estate-planning and asset protection strategies for their clients but are also aware that sometimes additional support is needed – at least initially – with the relevant legal documentation. Our collaboration with Grant Abbot of LightYear Docs, which automates legal forms, ensures you always have the correct legal sign-off documents to assist your clients. LightYear Docs is backed by Abbott and Morley Lawyers and they also provide personalised support if you want that extra bit of confidence when dealing with legal matters.

You may think it’s a given that your clients need to speak to a lawyer and whether they do is really up to you and the advice you give them. But when you ask yourself: are you qualified to give estate planning advice, the answer is “yes, you sure are” because you know your clients better than anyone else.

You’re liable for your advice, but we can protect you

Are you liable for your advice? Yes, you are. All accountants are liable for the advice they give, so it’s important you don't get it wrong – something you can avoid by asking the right questions upfront. And if you choose to have your legal documentation go through LightYear Docs, you can be assured of not only having asked the right questions and in the right order, but you’ll receive full legal protection.

Being liable for your advice isn’t something that should unnerve you, especially if you have the right tools. In fact, rather than think: "I'm too scared of giving advice as I might get sued," it might be worthwhile to think that the advice you don't give, may be what you could be sued for.

ChangeGPS makes it easy to expand your services

As their accountant, your clients may perceive you in a particular way – but it’s good to shake that up, and often it’s essential if you want to develop new revenue streams. We can help change how your clients think about you – in fact, we’re seeking to change the way all clients think of accountants in general. Whether your practice is large or small, it's important to work smarter, not harder – and today's technologies can help you do this as you expand your business. At Change GPS, our platform provides standardised tools, templates, and workpapers to streamline and simplify the estate planning process, which helps boost efficiencies while lowering costs. We can help you expand your services with our client-focused estate-planning strategies. Once set up, you’ll be in a great position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Find out more by contacting us now to book a no-obligation free consultation.



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