Articles for Financial Advisors

Applying Your Estate Planning Certificate

Applying Your Estate Planning Certificate

An estate planning designation demonstrates to your peers, clients and prospects to you are serious about your profession. After all, someone seeks the services of another because that person believes the other can do a better job. Prospective clients are less likely to engage you if they believe you know the same or less than they do about the topic at hand. This is where the specialist enters.

We all like dealing with specialists. If heart surgery is needed, no one seeks out a general practitioner; a specialist is sought, preferably someone board certified. An estate planning certificate on the wall shows the client that you are just what they are looking for: someone who has gone to an estate planning school.

Advisors frequently feel becoming a specialist is too time consuming, especially during periods of economic extremes. Estate planning schools offer flexible schedules and home study programs. Most importantly, this is a one-time commitment. Once you go through the program, you never have to do it again-any continuing education requirements are minimal. You can lose money in stocks or bonds, but no one can take away your education.

Instead of getting an estate planning certificate when you are in your 50s, 60s or 70s, why not do it now? Becoming a specialist now means you have more years to use the designation, not only certification marks but also the knowledge gained. Think of how fewer mistakes are made once you know how something works.

If you do not provide your client with estate planning, who will? Will the other person try to redirect securities business to someone else or possibly make disparaging remarks about the client's portfolio composition or point out how easy it would be to save income taxes by investing in X instead of Y? The financial advisor is considered the quarterback; keep control of the situation.

Once a client perceives you as an estate planning specialist, their view of you will be elevated-they will now think of you as a smarter and more accomplished person. Looking at you in a new light may result in the client have you oversee more of their assets or referring you to their parents, children or friends.

Remember, you only have to go to estate planning school once. The benefits you will reap as a specialist will last for a lifetime.

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