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Preventing delays to estate planning

By Jessica Franks, Head of Tax Products at Octopus | 07 April 2021

SUMMARY: Research from Octopus Investments reveals an unprecedented number of clients have delayed financial decisions. How can you help clients start their estate planning sooner rather than later?

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Have you found that some clients have delayed financial decisions?

In a survey of more than 700 financial advisers, 61% of advisers said they have clients who’ve delayed financial decisions because of the pandemic.1

And while the pandemic has triggered a surge in wills being made and updated2, this hasn’t always translated into clients planning their estate.

Why? And how can you motivate a client to plan their estate?

Octopus has been speaking to advice firms to find out how advisers are ensuring clients take action.

Help clients understand the importance of early planning

You’d think making a will and planning your estate would go hand in hand. Yet clients can need encouragement to see estate planning as a priority. Perhaps this is because the subject is often a complete unknown for clients.

Many of the advisers we speak to bridge this issue by making the conversation about goals and objectives.

Much like making a will, planning for inheritance tax is something you do for the benefit of your family. So positioning estate planning as “carrying out the wishes of the will” can help a client identify inheritance tax as a key issue.

You might make the conversation about what the client wants for their family and their family’s future.

Why is that important to the client? How might inheritance tax impact those goals?

From there, you can show a client how things might look had they started their planning a year ago or more. And you can explain the potential cost of unnecessary delays.

Involving the client’s beneficiaries

Involving the family is a great idea whether in a pandemic or not. That said, it’s often the younger sons and daughters that are most comfortable with video calls and remote meetings. So involving the wider family is helping some advisers move estate planning conversations forward.

Bringing beneficiaries into discussions can help where there are concerns about vulnerability. And it’s the beneficiaries who ultimately benefit from the planning, so having the wider family involved can help drive planning forward.

Progressing conversations outside of meetings

Many advisers tell us they find moving a client’s estate planning along remotely can be more challenging than in face-to-face meetings.

That’s meant some advisers have adjusted their approach to account for the extra friction. What would have been one physical meeting, might become two shorter phone calls.

One thing you might not have considered though, is whether what you send a client outside of meetings could work harder.

It’s proved particularly useful for some advisers to use educational content to put the client at ease and prepare them for their next meeting.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be something for the client to read either. Something like a short video about inheritance tax could help conversations run more smoothly down the line.

A toolkit of resources to help your business

Drawing on a survey of advice firms and conversations Octopus has had with advisers, our new report shares tips on how to prevent delays to a client’s estate planning.

The report covers how you can overcome three common challenges advisers are facing when planning a client’s estate.

You’ll also find a free toolkit of resources to help you move estate planning conversations forward with your clients. That toolkit includes guides, client-friendly videos and much more.

Read the report at

By Jessica Franks, Head of Tax Products at Octopus

Jessica heads up the team that manages tax-efficient investments, including venture capital trusts and investments that qualify for Business Property Relief from inheritance tax. She joined Octopus in 2014 and is a qualified tax adviser.

1 Research conducted by Octopus and VouchedFor via an online survey of 714 financial advisers in January 2021.
2 Covid-19 triggers spike in will-making - here’s how to gift, Interactive Investor, 10 December 2020

Our investments are not suitable for everyone. We do not offer investment or tax advice. Issued by Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 03942880. Issued: April 2021. CAM010848.

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