Using “the family approach” to encourage timely estate planning

An unprecedented number of clients have delayed financial decisions because of the pandemic. But an indirect approach can help turn hesitation into urgency.

Nick Bird, Executive Business Development Manager at Octopus Investments


Let’s consider a scenario.

Catherine and Linda live on the same street, a few houses apart. Both are widowed and inherited large estates. They’re at a point in their lives where they need to think about the impact of inheritance tax.

About twelve months ago, Catherine had her annual review with her financial adviser. It was a little different, taking place over the phone because of lockdown restrictions. So her adviser made sure to take some time checking in on how she and her family were.

Later in the call, he raises the topic of inheritance tax.

Catherine says she is keen to go through her options. But she stresses that now is not the time. She’d prefer to wait until things return to normal to make any firm decisions. So that’s how things were left.

Linda’s review was also a simple phone call. But when her adviser raised the topic of inheritance, things moved relatively smoothly. And after three or four further discussions, Linda had begun to put planning in place.

What motivated Linda to prioritise her estate planning? And how can advisers help a client see estate planning as a priority?

The risk of delay

A survey commissioned by Octopus earlier this year found that 61% of advisers have clients who’ve delayed financial decisions because of the pandemic.*

In some cases, that’s involved clients putting off their estate planning.

This is troubling. The earlier a client starts their estate planning, the better their position will be further down the line.

*Research conducted by Octopus and VouchedFor via an online survey of 714 financial advisers in January 2021

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