Taxbriefs Commentary Library

Helping clients make tough decisions

Danby Bloch, 05 Oct 2012


Virtually every choice a client makes in estate planning has disadvantages as well as benefits. Of course that’s true of most financial planning, but with this area, the choices are often starker, more personal and harder to make. This is where a trusted adviser can really help their clients. In the challenging context of adviser charging, this is where advisers can add value.

One of the key roles of the financial planner is to help clients make these tough choices and work through the consequences.

Think about it. Any programme of gifts is likely to have some impact on the donor’s financial security. Giving or leaving assets to one set of people – say the grandchildren – will deprive another group – say the children. Setting up trust arrangements typically involves complications and costs, as well as the appointment of trustees who may make poor decisions. Holding business assets that qualify for relief generally means taking greater investment risks.

Of course there are some no-brainer decisions like having a will. And for the very rich, some gifting programmes may well be more or less painless.

So financial advisers owe it to their clients to keep up to date with the latest legislation, planning techniques and tools – and not just the life assurance-based planning strategies. That must mean being able to assess and explain the advantages of any course of action – but also the drawbacks. It means being able to compare plans. Above all it requires advisers to understand their clients’ changing wants and needs. 

Every year there are significant developments in estate planning; it is really important to keep up with them.

Taxbriefs Inheritance Tax Planning Conference 2012 will be held in London on 17 October. To find out more and book your place visit


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Danby Bloch

Editorial Director, Taxbriefs

Danby Bloch is the editorial director of Taxbriefs, chairman of city-based IFAs, Helm Godfrey and director of Nucleus, an independent wrap provider.

Over a period of more than 40 years, Danby has established himself as one of the industry's leading thinkers and  is a respected author, lecturer and trainer on tax and financial planning.




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