CPAs Should Provide Estate Planning Services

Filed under: The Advisor's Blog

Senior couple meeting with agentAs a CPA, you are more familiar with your clients’ financial lives than anyone else they know. You possess the knowledge and skills to help them make important decisions about their assets and futures. And yet, many CPAs aren’t providing estate planning services to their clients. You’re actually in the perfect position to provide these services, for a variety of reasons.

Prevent clients from making mistakes. Once your clients have made a plan for their estate, they may not return to their estate planning attorney for years. As their CPA, you are in the unique position of knowing the ups and downs of their financial and tax information. This makes you the ideal person to alert their estate planning attorney, trustee holder, financial advisor, or any other team members that changes to the estate plan might be needed.

Keep an eye on ongoing administrative issues. You may have noticed that your clients often name family members as trustees, even though this person may have no experience with the responsibilities of handling a trust. As the family’s trusted advisor, you are in a great position to prevent any tax problems or other situations that can arise when a trust is handled incorrectly.

Knowledge of your clients helps you to provide valuable assistance. No one knows your clients’ financial history as well as you do. So when it comes time to make post-mortem estate decisions, or file income taxes for the deceased party, you are in the perfect position to offer assistance to the family. Your input on options such as gifting or valuation of a family business can save clients time and money.

You will develop a deeper relationship with your clients and their families. Helping your clients with their estate planning needs helps you to become more familiar with them and their successors. In many cases you may earn new business through their children, grandchildren, and referrals that they bring you. You may find yourself taking on a generational role with the family.

You can help families find better solutions. Many families view their assets as a group, rather than individually, and their financial affairs are very enmeshed with one another. You possess the expertise and experience to step in and help them learn about various business concepts, such as limited liability companies, buyouts between siblings, succession, and so on.

Providing additional services brings revenue to your business. When your clients view you as a trusted advisor, this allows you to add services to your practice that deepen your relationship with them. By doing so, you improve client retention and establish a stronger need for your services, which boosts your revenues in the long run.

Investment Advisory Services offered through John P. Dubots Capital Management, LLC, CA License # 0822926