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instructions mark zinder

Letter of instruction: Don’t leave life without one!

Instructions Image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Simply put, a letter of instruction is a cheat sheet for anyone involved in settling your affairs. Unlike a will, this letter has no legal authority. However, it can provide an easy-to-understand explanation of your overall estate plan to your executor and lay out your wishes to your family for things not covered by the will.

This is the Year to Get Your House in Order!

Helping your clients will in turn, help you. To stand out from the crowd of over 630,000 financial advisors, you have to do something different. By helping them be prepared you will be helping yourself grow. Getting a client’s house in order may not generate gross, but it generates goodwill, and that is what gets you noticed!

Download the Word document and transfer to your own letterhead or add your contact info at the bottom.

The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die

“It isn’t enough simply to sign a bunch of papers establishing an estate plan and other end-of-life instructions. You also have to make your heirs aware of them and leave the documents where they can find them.” This article talks about the most important documents to have on hand.

The Checklist

We created this checklist which corresponds with “The 25 Documents” article. You will see that we have included two additional columns: “When Discussed” and “When Completed”, to help you and your clients keep track of their progress.

Estate Planning Documents

This white paper provides the instructions and URL’s to obtain many of the forms for free!

Explanation of Documents

This decision brief points out the key considerations for setting up an estate plan.

Horror Stories: Not having a will

Chief Justice Warren Burger’s single-page will was woefully inadequate. Abraham Lincoln died without one, as did Prince, Michael Jackson, Pablo Picasso, and Howard Hughes. In this article are a few stories from advisers about their experiences with clients who failed to prepare a will.

10 Examples

A majority of people don’t have a will, this is understood. What is hard to understand is the 22% that felt that making a will wasn’t urgent.

Client Conversation Guide

There are roughly 630,000 financial advisors in America and 400,000 insurance agents. Use this conversation guide to help differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Advance Directives

All of these documents have been obtained from government sources. Please be aware that laws vary substantially from state to state. Some states, for instance, do not recognize living wills; others require 3+ witnesses that meet a particular legal standard. While we do our best to ensure that they are accurate and updated, we do not guarantee the accuracy or legality of these documents. It is your responsibility to ensure that they are filled out in accordance with state and/or federal law. As always, we highly recommend you employ legal counsel when completing any legal documents.

HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form: A healthcare professional is prohibited from handing over sensitive information about a patient over the age of 18, even to his or her parents. This release form will help smooth the way during a medical emergency.   Click here for the HIPAA form.

Aging Facilitation Form: Use this generic form to ask your clients for guidance on how to assist them if they begin to show signs of cognitive decline. Simply insert your company logo and name where indicated. Download Aging Facilitation Guidance Document (.doc)

State-By-State Advance Directives: This link takes you to the page on  AARP’s website that has each state’s directives listed. Simply click on the state you are looking for and download the forms. AARP Advance Directives.

HIPAA Fact sheet

The acronym HIPAA has entered our daily vernacular, but some are still unclear what all the rules are. This article from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will help you stay current.

Additional Forms to Consider

As our clients age with consistent regularity, many advisors are having their clients complete this form, so you, the advisor, are given permission to say something when something should be said.

An advance directive supersedes a HIPAA release form. If you don’t have a medical directive, then this is a necessary form. A healthcare professional is prohibited from handing over sensitive information about a patient over the age of 18, even to his or her parents. This release form will help smooth the way during a medical emergency.

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