4 of the Most Important Takeaways from Legacy Now Spring 2024

At Vanilla’s most recent estate advisory summit, Legacy Now Spring 2024, thought leaders from across the estate planning industry to discuss emerging trends, best practices, and informed strategies for all types of firms. 

This year’s virtual event featured three expert panels, an interview with former Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb, a sneak peek at Vanilla’s product roadmap, and a conversation between NBA champion Shane Battier and his advisor, Steve Lockshin

The 90 minutes were jam-packed with insights from experienced advisors, attorneys, and planners, all of which you can watch here in the complete recording. 

Otherwise, keep reading for four must-know highlights from Legacy Now Spring 2024. 

1. Timing is a key component of estate planning

In a discussion about how T&E lawyers can prepare for the 2023 gift tax exemption sunset, Kevin Donovan, Founder of The Art of Planning, says that timing is one of the most important considerations for successful estate planning. 

When considering timing, it’s important to remember that some estate planning strategies—especially advanced ones—can take time to set up, time to cure, and there are steps that need to be followed to comply with IRS regulations. 

Additionally, Kevin says it’s crucial to think about long-term timing: 

“You need to educate the client on each of these [strategies], you need to give them the ‘gimmes and the gotchas’ so that they don’t end up 25 years down the road with something that solved the problem they have today but created a bigger problem later on down the road.” 

Watch the 10-minute session here.

2. Estate planning isn’t only for those with a taxable estate 

There’s a common misconception that people who aren’t subject to estate taxes can forgo advanced estate planning and get by with just a will—which simply isn’t true. Rick Holman of Baird – Private Wealth Management noted that, as the estate tax exemption rate has climbed in recent years, there’s a whole class of people who won’t outlive their wealth but won’t be affected by estate taxes. 

For these people, who Rick terms the ‘middle rich,’ planning for things like income taxes, basis management, and titling property is critical for passing on wealth efficiently. 

“You start talking about trusts and people start thinking about Rockefellers, or for anyone too young to know who that is, Bezos. But trusts are something that a lot of people use,” Rick says. “Most wealthy people don’t consider themselves wealthy, so you have to tell them, ‘Look, you’ve made it to a point where something simple like a revocable trust might be appropriate to minimize delays and make things more efficient, just in terms of making your life and your family’s life easier.’” 

Watch the 10-minute session here.

3. Advisors shouldn’t wait until a client passes to meet their family

It’s an ugly truth for advisors that they will lose 90% of their clients when wealth transfers to their children. If an advisor hopes to retain clients across generations, they need to make inroads with their clients’ families while the primary client is still living. 

In a panel discussion, Lisa Westermark of Beverly Hills Private Wealth offers this tactic for opening doors to the next generation: 

“The mistake comes from not creating relationships with the family while the primary client is alive … If I’m speaking to a client and they mention that they have a child, I just say, “Hey, even if they don’t have anything and just want to have a conversation, talk about the basics of personal finance, budgeting tips, go over some of their goals, I’m happy to have that conversation with them. It’s part of the package you get with us. And 100% of the time I’m taken up on that offer.” 

Watch the 13-minute session here.

4. Vanilla now offers Attorney Engagement 

We shared several exciting product updates and enhancements during Legacy Now, including Attorney Engagement. 

The new Attorney Engagement package offers clients the ability to engage directly with licensed estate planning attorneys. This allows clients to work closely with top legal experts to ensure their estate documents are accurate and personalized to their unique situations, regardless of complexity. 

To offer consistent, high-quality collaboration with highly-pedigreed estate planning attorneys through the Attorney Engagement offering, Vanilla is launching with the modern law firm Accelerant Law PLLC. Accelerant attorneys will work directly with clients to build a plan that complements their family and financial situation. Upon completion of their documents, the client’s plan will automatically sync and be visualized within the Vanilla platform.

Learn more about Attorney Engagement and other updates here.

To stay up-to-date on future events and summits, follow us on LinkedIn

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