At the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in January, I had the chance to speak and work together with Valentino Sabuco, executive director of The Financial Awareness Foundation. Part of the Foundation’s mission involves educating the public about the need for both financial and estate planning. As Valentino mentioned to me, over 50 percent of the adult U.S. population doesn’t have estate plans. While Valentino gets the word out on his end about the importance of estate planning, practitioners can help clients (and potential clients) understand that estate planning isn’t just about saving taxes, but also paves the way for an effective wealth transfer that’s meaningful to clients and their heirs.
Our Modern Practice Committee Report offers valuable suggestions on how to facilitate this communication. Whether it’s helping to prepare and educate heirs about their inheritances (see “Changing the Playbook,” by Marvin E. Blum, p. 34), making sure the goals of estate planning conform to our clients’ needs (see “Have We Got It All Wrong?” by Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Amy F. Altman, p. 29) or defining the right inheritance (see “How Much Is Enough?” by Timothy Belber, p. 44), there’s much estate planners can do to ensure clients feel connected and comfortable with their estate plans.
In addition to learning about financial awareness, I also took part in a seminar at Heckerling to give interested attendees information about writing for Trusts & Estates and our online forum, wealthmanagement.com. So many people signed up for the seminar that we had to turn some of them away. For those of you who couldn’t join us at the seminar and are interested in writing for us, we’ll be scheduling a webinar on this topic in the Spring. Look for announcements on our website and in our e-newsletter, “The Estate Planner,” as to the specific date and time.