You can call it coach, professional or whatever you think will appeal to your HNW client or any client. The truth is that in this day and age it is hard for clients to make difficult decisions without having a peace of mind. If your client needs a peace of mind, hire someone who will provide it.
I recently posed a question to our audience about what they were doing in this last quarter to educate their client base on the potential tax changes expiring at year-end. I received various replies from different professionals and in almost all of the answers it was noted that they had sent letters outlining broad and generic consequences of ignoring the potential changes.
It would seem to me that unless we know our clients full picture a letter would simply fall into the waste can. Suggesting a client give away half or even a portion of their wealth because of the changes in the tax law is unrealistic. The peace of mind they have currently knowing that they have wealth that they control and want to hold on to it would stand to reason that they could not simply give it away.
Now to the contrary, if peace of mind was gained through educating clients on the benefits and potential risks to their “own” situation then perhaps planning for the transfer of some of their wealth today would make sense.
As Scott Farnsworth of CEO Sunbridge Legacy Advisors recently said to a group of attorneys, “ If you are asking about whether or not the estate tax is going to expire then you are asking the wrong question. We all have a larger wealth that goes beyond money and property. It includes the wisdom we acquired, the insights that have allowed us to make better decisions, as we get older, and our heritage. When you add that in with money and property, then you pass along real wealth.” As you see Scott’s approach goes beyond the tax planning.
You want may consider removing the exemption conversation from your call to action. Instead take this time to meet with your clients and their advisors, together at the same table, and review their entire picture and include those things that are not on the balance sheet like wisdom and values. Make sure that you have it drawn out and that they understand it. Once you have uncovered all their current risks and opportunities, they will have a working document to act on. They can then use your wisdom and their own to move forward.
Peace of mind is more than a $5M or $10M exemption. Peace of mind is priceless.