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The Advisor’s Role in Final Decisions

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The Advisor's Role in Final Decisions

Written by: Catherine McBreen | Spectrem Group

As a person approaches the end of their life, there are dozens of decisions to be made about settling accounts, both personal and financial. It is easier to make the necessary decisions when that person has someone with whom they can discuss the details.

Spectrem’s new study Down to the Last Detail examines the financial preparations affluent individuals can make to transfer wealth when the eventual occurs. The report looks at investors who are arranging their own financial plans as well as investors who work with family members to make determinations about end-of-life finances, as well as those who worked with a family member who has passed away.

Just as it is true that everybody dies, it is also true that everybody knows someone who has passed away. The issues surrounding end-of-life finances get dealt with by almost everyone eventually. As a result, investors have many voices they can listen to regarding the financial arrangements and medical decisions that need to be made regarding the end of life.

End of Life

In the study, investors were asked “who are you working with for your own end-of-life decisions?”, and the answers were surprisingly widespread. Here are some of the details:

  • Thirty-four percent of all investors discuss end-of-life decisions with family and/or friends. Perhaps that percentage seems a bit low, although many people consider their end-of-life matters to be among the most private decisions they are required to make. That may be why….
  • Twenty-seven percent of investors work with their private attorney regarding final decisions. That may be especially true in situations where a person requires a legal or medical power of attorney and wants to make certain the specifics of the situation are properly dealt with.
  • Twenty-two percent of investors are working or have worked with an estate attorney who is not their private attorney. Again, this may seem like a low percentage, although research shows that the wealthier the investor, the more likely they are to work with an estate attorney.
  • And 22 percent of investors are working or have worked with their financial advisor. A financial advisor can actually provide guidance in many of the specific areas people need to deal with in the end-of-life situation, but can also provide referrals to other professionals who may be more knowledgeable about some of those specifics.

Interestingly, many of the investors surveyed are not or did not confer with any of the above professionals, friends or family. Whether this is a matter of privacy or a strong desire to do it yourself, advice in such matters is readily available and may indeed be a tenet of a professional relationship.

Related: Why Advisors Should Offer Financial Plans

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