On 24th August 2021,
PreceptsGroup hosted a panel discussion with their Estate and Succession Practitioners to discuss how estate planning could be a cornerstone in their current financial advisory practice. The presenters were qualifiers for MDRT, COT and TOT in recent years. These qualifications are widely recognized for top financial advisors around the world. The event was conducted over a Zoom Presentation and was attended by more than 200 participants.
The panel discussion was hosted by Tan Hwee Heng, Head of Precepts Marketing Department and included the following presenters:
Ms Jolene Goh,
PreceptsGroup Executive Club Member (Honours, 3 years),
Ms Jovin Yeo,
MDRT Lifetime and
Ms Laura Hoi,
MDRT Lifetime and Honor Roll
Tan Hwee Heng,
HOD Marketing, PreceptsGroup
HH: What were some challenges that you faced when you first started in estate planning?
Jolene: For the first 6 months after I had completed the Estate Planning training with Precepts in 2017, I didn’t even dare talk about it to clients because it seemed too technical and involved many legal aspects. I had that fear that many advisors face now. The only way to overcome your fear is to do the thing you feel uncomfortable with.
When I first started talking about estate planning to my clients, I had the tendency to discuss the technicalities. It is important to note that clients do not like to be told what to do. My approach was to pitch the ‘pain points’, issues that will make a huge impact to their loved ones when they are no longer around.
HH: Laura, how did you get started?
Laura: This is my 19th year in the financial advisory business. In the first few years of my career, I started to explore estate planning. I probably started the earliest among the three of us. However, I was only doing a handful of Wills when my clients asked for it.
I had some fears, and it was a steep learning curve. It wasn’t until 2018 that I decided to attend more estate planning courses. During one of the courses, a lot of things shared were real life issues that could happen to anyone of us. Ever since that eureka moment, I started to see all the estate planning gaps that my clients had. I felt a renewed sense of excitement when I asked my clients pertinent questions for them to ponder over their needs. I was able to engage in deeper conversations with my high-net-worth clients. That was why and when I decided to use estate planning as a strategy to engage my clients. I was able to meet high net worth clients and assist them to solve pressing problems. It has helped me to become more effective with time management and my clients were confident to refer their affiliates to me.
HH: Jovin, how does estate planning integrate with financial planning? How did it lead to you to close more cases?
Jovin: I used to do more insurance planning, less on investments and I didn’t really know how to apply estate planning. I found it very difficult to break into the high-net-worth market. This is because they only saw me as an insurance advisor. However, when you engage your clients using the approach of estate planning, they were more willing to reveal more personal and confidential information.
For example, I was referred to this client who only wanted to write a Will initially. Through a series of questions, I found out that this single lady was planning for retirement as well. But the most alarming discovery was how she has been passing money to a friend to invest for her.
Through our discussion, she realised that passing money to her friend to invest may not be the best solution. Hence, it opened a case for me to plan for investment as part of her retirement.
HH: Jolene, do you regularly face clients who just want a simple Will?
Jolene: Wills are simple, it is the human being who is complex. The situation may look simple at the onset, but you do not know of any underlying complications at that moment. It is not about writing but rather the planning of distribution and that is why we come into the picture.
For simple Will Writing services, they will just write whatever without looking into the blind spots that might have been overlooked. Nothing is more expensive than not knowing your blind spots. You may pay a small price today, but at the end of the day, somebody will pay a huge price for that missed blind spot.
A simple Will can make complex things complicated. A complete plan makes complex things simple for you. Hence, I will ask my client which one would you prefer?
HH: Laura, can you share with us a case you have encountered?
Laura: Just a few months ago, while talking to a client, I casually asked if she had done her Will. Being single and in her 40s, she started telling me about how her parents were made executors of her aunt’s estate. When her aunt passed away 5-6 years ago, her parents were in their 70s and had to handle the estate of her aunt!
The fact that I could engage in such a conversation was because of my estate planning background and knowledge. It has helped me engage her in a deeper conversation centred around how a poorly thought-out Will had resulted in her parents being sued by her cousins.
It really messed up the whole family dynamics because of that one mistake her aunt made in the Will by appointing her sister and brother-in- law (the client’s parents) as the executors. With the client’s father having passed away, it was now left for her poor 70-year-old mother to go through court proceedings as she was sued by her own family members. All these are so heart breaking and could actually have been easily avoided.
HH: How else has estate planning helped with your business?
Jovin: In the past, I was doing an average of between 80 to 150 cases to qualify for MDRT. Last year, I did 85 cases to clear the Top of the Table qualification. This year I have cleared the Court of the Table with just 38 cases. So you can see the potential and opportunities for estate planning is huge when it forms part of your process.
This growth has led to greater satisfaction in my work and eventually more time for my family, which was unlike the past. Nowadays, I hardly go for appointments on weekends.
HH: How do you find Precepts as an estate planning platform?
Laura: I tell my clients that one of the biggest advantages of Precepts is the executorship appointment and because Precepts holds a Trust licence, we are able to perform as Corporate Executor and Trustee for our clients. For most law firms, they typically do not have the ability to be a corporate executor.
Precepts’ founder, Mr Lee Chiwi is very experienced, and I am assured to know that he has legal background and is legally trained. Precepts also has a dedicated team that helps me when I am doing Wills, Trust and Estate Planning with my clients.
There is a committed team of people who can support me and that is one of the biggest strengths of working with Precepts, compared with referring the case to someone else.