Just when you and your client have reached an important investment decision, the client will often ask questions such as these: “Will these shares be in my estate?” “Will there be any problem if I put my son’s name on my account?” Coming out of the blue, the question will be asked casually by the client but will be disconcerting to you; you have most likely been concentrating on the soundness and appropriateness of the investment. Think what it would mean to your client, and to the client’s estimate of you as an investment adviser, if you were prepared to respond out of knowledge of estate planning fundamentals.

This module provides you with a basic understanding of the major tax and transfer rules that every client faces when trying to plan his or her estate. Even though you will not be the final authority regarding a plan, you will often serve as the first ear to hear these concerns. The ability to listen to these concerns with understanding and to articulate many of the factors that need to be considered will be of great service to your clients.

Author: Jennifer Coombs

Jennifer Coombs is an associate professor at the College for Financial Planning. Prior to joining the College, Jennifer spent a decade working in the financial services industry in New York City, with a special focus on equity research and analysis. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Political Science from Clarkson University. You can contact Jennifer at jennifer.coombs@cffp.edu.

Complexity Level: Intermediate