Category Archives: Estate Planning

Only 2% of Advisors know how to maintain the next generation of clients

From Advisor.ca article “Adapt to Wealthy Client Needs, or else” by Dean Dispalatro October 2013

Mr Dispalatro writes in his article about some wisdom shared by Keith Sjogren, managing director of consulting at Investor Economics including what he outlined as the 3 trends impacting the wealthy. 

  1. Sluggish economic growth resulting in income being depressed and personal wealth not growing
  2. Concentration of wealth in Canada’s is growing steadily. Those with more than $1M in investible assets now control 2/3 of the country’s wealth
  3. Debt reduction is a top priority with the wealthy

All of this leads Sjogren to conclude that the wealthy need more advice; but wealth management advice not investment advice. He also suggests that more attention should be paid to those with high incomes who have not yet accumulated assets of $1M as they probably will as real estate or business interests are sold and inheritances are received 

But he also points out the demographics of wealth at play.  By 2022, more than half of wealthy people will be older than 65. & that demographic is not made up of conspicuous consumers but  capital protectors with a big focus on leaving a legacy for their children. Hence, he concludes that advisors should shift their focus from “accumulation to preservation.”

Indeed the $900 billion that is set to change hands in the next 10 years.at least half will happen in wealthy families, making estate planning a key priority offering. But the issue remains; advisors are not doing an adequate job of getting to know the families of their clients;  which as he says “is a sure-fire way to lose the next generation when wealth changes hands

Investor Economics data backs this concern up.  When assets are transferred to a widowed spouse, only 55% keep the same Advisor.  When assets are transferred to the children, a whopping 98% move to a different Advisor.

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Even millionaires are procrastinating

This from a 2010 article ” Wealthy Worry about Next Generation” in Advisor.CA magazine by John Powell 

Referencing a study by RBC Wealth Management of Canadian Millionaires:

  • 58% of millionaires think their children are facing an uphill battle when it comes to managing their finances
  • 49% don’t have confidence in their children’s abilities to manage the inheritance. 
  • 67% feel it is their responsibility to preserve wealth for future generations and leave their children with a healthy legacy,
  • But, 39% have no estate plan to speak of.

Contradictory?
Tom McCullough President/CEO of Northwood Family Office chalks it up to people just being human and not wanting to face what the future might hold for them and their loved ones. 

“Estate planning is complicated. It is about the future. It is about death. They don’t want to have to make those decisions now,” he explains. “I think it is one of the most important things people need to do is to sort through their personal affairs and their estate but there are a lot of folks who don’t do it, don’t get to it or don’t know how to do it.”

Thane Stenner, Founder/Director of wealth management at Stenner Investment Partners, an independent private family office group within Richardson GMP Limited, is not surprised by RBC’s findings as it mirrors the results of his own company’s research from 2006. which highlighted the top concern of the high-net worth clients as being how their children would handle the family finances in the future.

“What is interesting is there still seems to be some procrastination taking place. That is not surprising. Most successful, wealthy families are busy. They have a lot on the go. Estate planning or issues like that are never seen to be urgent and that is one of the reasons why a lot of the times quite candidly, that estate plans are not updated and are not properly papered,” says Stenner

Link

McAfee the online security organization have commissioned a few surveys over the years that show the growing value of digital assets. Their research in 2011 (provided by MSI International) surveyed more than 3,000 consumers across 10 countries and shows varying values of digital assets.

Digital Assets? They include music and video downloads, software programs, photos, career info, personal records, email etc.

mcafee-unprotected-digital-assets

Canadians estimated their digital assets on average to be worth $47,074 which is slightly behind Americans ($54,722) and ahead of the UK ($38,360). McAfee’s study also suggested that it would take an average of some 82 hours for most of us to restore our digital assets if lost. That would be the estimate if we were alive. If we are not alive…it’s anyone’s guess if they could be restored at all. Digital assets/Digital passwords need to be backed up and shared somewhere safe

mcafee-digital-assets-canad

In 2013, they released a new survey specific to Canadian consumers’ attitudes towards online surfing, web security and data protection.  This survey showed Canadians placing a value of $32,000 on the digital assets stored on their devices (not sure why the decrease from the earlier study) This study showed that most of us are not taking appropriate precautions to backup and safeguard our digital assets.

Protecting online assests needs to be made more of a priority for our families and that will come from education and having a good handle on secure technology.

McAffee Cares is an Online Safety for Kids program which hopes to train school aged children and adults on ways to stay safe, secure and maintain good ethics in online behavour.  You can learn more about their program here http://mcafee.com/onlinesafety.

LegacyTracker has made provisions for safeguarding your digital assets

Your Growing Digital Estate-Why we worry

This is a good article from the Student Lawyer website  The choice for aspiring lawyers (& us)

Digital Estate Planning: Is Google Your Next Estate Planner? 

This article picks up on a discussion with Jamie Hopkins who is Assistant Professor of Taxation at New York Life Center for Retirement Income about the challenges facing traditional estate planning in relation to the disposition of digital electronic assets

Google your estate planner

…”the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, presents new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques…”

While many people do not have an estate plan in place for the disposition of their traditional assets, even fewer have a specifically designed digital estate plan to manage their digital assets upon death. By the end of 2012, almost 30 million Facebook accounts had outlived their owners, but only three million had been memorialised [4] for their deceased owners. This leaves millions of photographs, private messages, and other digital assets stored on the deceased’s Facebook account, which is inaccessible to his or her family and friends.[5] These forgotten pages become a virtual shrine, creating ‘a pixilated Dorian Gray, colored by iPhone photos, ‘pokes’, and ‘LOLs’ — possibly for an eternity.’[6] As such, the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, present new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques, requiring more complex planning techniques than previously used for the disposition and management of traditional estates.

What will happen if you or one of your loved ones sets up all of their accounts online but the access information is not shared? A family already grieving is subject to even further distress. The last thing you or your family need is a time of grief is the frustration and potential financial loss because proper digital estate planning was not considered especially in light of the fact that there are unique issues that plague digital assets like ownership and transferability.

LegacyTracker does provice for digital estate planning