Winning Over Clients’ Heirs

The wonder of the holiday season is upon us.

The holidays: one of the only times in the year when families get together to share old memories and traditions while making new ones. Delicious food and a happy atmosphere present an opportunity for financial advisors to get acquainted with multi-generational family members while they are relaxed and in good spirits.

Why would a financial advisor want to meet with the clients’ extended family? A strong clue lies in the following statistics: 70 percent of family wealth is lost by the end of the second generation and 90 percent by the end of the third.1 Many speculate this is due to lack of communication and trust between family members and opens up an opportunity for financial planners to meet client needs by helping them preserve their legacy for generations to come.

Serving as the financial advisor to “mom and pop” places you in a unique position of receiving a warm introduction to the family members who will inherit the assets of mom and pop upon their deaths. This warm and personal intro is much preferred to the cold exchange of data after the parents have died.

One of the elder generation’s biggest fears is the potential loss of family harmony after their death. Once the wealth distribution plan has been fully disclosed, siblings may feel they are not receiving an equal share of the legacy. Or, may choose to “sit and wait” for their inheritance instead of striving to achieve their potential.

The holiday season is an ideal time for parents to discuss and share their hopes and dreams for their family’s future with relatives and explain how they feel their financial legacy will aid in reaching those goals.

Even though the conversation may be a bit difficult for you and your clients, it is beneficial to all parties to have the discussion while they can explain their reasoning behind the legacy plan design. By explaining themselves before they die, they have the opportunity for discussion of any unknown discords, while also having the opportunity to change their plans, should they choose.

Why initiate this meeting? Wouldn’t you rather be the financial advisor maintaining 70 percent of the family’s assets at the end of the second generation and a total of 90 percent by the end of the third? If so, here are techniques and tips to help plan your client’s next, or first, family meeting:


Techniques to Approach A Family Meeting

  1. Run the family like a well-run corporation.

–Have an annual meeting to discuss events shaping the family.

–Helps to detach and lessen emotions.

–Appoint key advisory team members, now and for the next generation.

–Introduce advisory team, because they’ll be more comfortable working together later.

  1. Create the family’s money story.

–What does the money mean to the parents?

–What are the attitudes about money they want to teach heirs?

–Do heirs need help developing their financial competency?

–What’s the best way to convey the family’s money story?

  1. Overcome the most dominant emotion of planning—fear.

–Improve family communication and trust.

–Address the unknown with information or knowledge of a plan.

 Tips for Advanced Planning

  1. Create an agenda with:




–Expected outcomes.

  1. Set the stage. Meeting should be held:

–In a suitable place where family members can have a serious discussion.

–Away from noisy places like restaurants.

–In neutral territory.

–On a convenient date and time when child care can be arranged.

  1. Make it an experience with:

–Positive conversations and open dialogue.

–An expression of gratitude from parents.

–A third-party moderator to remove barriers and positively deliver parents’ desires.

Your professionalism in facilitating and participating in the family meeting will further solidify your relationship with senior clients while building trust among the future generations. Thus, you may also benefit by preserving future second- and third-generation clientele and building a legacy for your practice.

Call your CreativeOne sales team at 800.992.2642 to learn more about techniques to navigate family dynamics and secure an advisory role with your clients’ heirs.

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CP- 0657 – 2015/12/8

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