Archive for July, 2011

Building Up Your Business During Summer’s Typical Planning Slowdown

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Family vacations tend to dominate the summer months.  Friends and relatives say nothing is quite as stressfull as planning and packing for the long awaited warm weather holiday.  As the mercury climbs your client’s interest in discussing financial matters may decline.  Let’s change that trend.

The Summertime Business Blues 

Once school is out, advisors generally see a slowdown in new clients who are contemplating estate planning.  Parents are taking children on vacation; grandparents retreat to summer hideaways to escape the heat.  The pace of life simply slows down. 

One of the most stressful pre-vacation conversations among families deals with the status of their estate plan and life insurance plans.  Are they current?  The conversation usually goes “Let’s hope that nothing happens, and we’ll deal with it when we get back.”  When the family does get back, however, the topic falls off the “to-do” list until next summer’s hiatus. 


A Pre-Departure Checklist

Over the years we’ve picked up ideas on dealing with summer slowdown.  One way is to keep financial planning lively in your clients’ minds is to create a legal and financial pre-vacation checklist. 

You can send it to your clients via a letter, a fax, an e-mail, a Twitter link to your blog post, a Facebook post, or whatever method works best for you.  Our sample checklist looks like this:

  • Tell your trustee or executor where all of your important documents are located, and make sure they have access to them.  For example, if you keep your important papers in a safety deposit box or safe, make sure you leave them the key or combination. 
  • Review your life insurance policies.  Do you have enough coverage?
  • Double-check the beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement plans and annuities.  Are they coordinated with your estate plan?  (In my experience,  most are not.)
  • Is your living will and health care power of attorney up to date with the HIPAA Act?
  • Has anything changed thaty your advisors need to know about before you leave town?

A Guilt Free Summer Vacation

If you are working with a family that understands these important issues and wants to do some estate planning before they leave town, don’t worry.  Feel free to contact my office.  Once we know your client’s timeline, we can get the work done before they go.  There’s nothing like leaving for that summer vacation free from guilt and worry!