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Getting Started | Estate Guru

Creating your first client account

1. Log in and click “Create Client Account”

 

2. Fill out basic client information and choose an attorney

*Note: “Assign Attorney…” will only be displayed if there is more than one attorney available to choose from
3. Client answers questions that help the attorney determine which estate planning documents are appropriate for your client
4. Fill out each document tile with your client or have your client fill it out from home
5. Finish each document in the documents tab until they all say complete or ready to sign
6. Complete the People Tab and share the necessary documents with the necessary individuals by checking the boxes, clicking the invite button and entering the necessary contact information.
7. Complete the Assets Tab with your client by filling out the joint assets and separate assets.
8. By this time you will have collected payment and all the information you need to know! Give yourself a big congratulations because you have just finished your first client account

Printing or Downloading Documents and Signature Pages for a Client

This is primarily for advisors who print, sign, and notarize signature pages in their offices or would like to print individual documents for clients.

This brief guide will show you how print signature pages and other individual documents from your advisor account.

 

 

 

1. Click on the “Clients” tab

 

 

 

2. Pick the client you wish to print documents or signature pages for

 

 

3. Scroll down and click on the document tab you wish to print documents or signature pages from

 

 

4. Click on the documents you wish to print

 

 

5. You’re finished!

Executing or Signing your Client’s Documents

Making sure the completed documents are delivered in a timely and professional manner is one of the key tasks that need to be carried out. Each document must be signed in the presence of either a notary public or witnesses to be legally binding. The signature page clearly indicates which ones must be notarized and which ones are witnessed.This process is known as “executing the documents”.

To expedite the process most advisors either become a notary or take a notary with them when they deliver completed documents to their clients.

The estate-planning documents are compiled into a three-ring binder segregated by colored tabs. To make signing the documents easy for everyone involved, we compile all the signature pages into a packet and place them in the front of the binder. Executed documents should be scanned and emailed to docs@estateguru.com. Once emailed, originals should be kept by client in the binder provided or with the client’s other important papers.

The entire delivery/execution process may take up to 45 minutes.

Familiarize yourself with and follow the guidelines and information found in – “Things to Remember” and “Things to Avoid”.

Things to Remember when Executing Client Documents

Executing estate planning documents is not difficult but it does require attention to detail. Documents must be executed correctly to avoid problems using the documents that may arise when your client dies. The following are guidelines to ensure that you execute your client’s estate-planning documents in a professional manner:
● There are specific procedures for executing each document in your client’s estate plan. We have provided detailed instructions in this section on a document-by-document basis. Review detailed instructions provided on the web for specifics about how to execute a particular document in the portfolio. If you have questions contact us immediately.
● You are the attorney’s “eyes and ears” during the actual delivery of the completed estate-planning documents. Be sensitive to any extreme reluctance, confusion or undue anxiety from your client. Additional attorney involvement may be necessary.
● If there is any question about client’s mental state or capacity do not execute documents.
● If you are a notary in good standing you may act as the notary where ever a notary is required. You must make sure your notary records are in good order at all times. You should keep your notary records for an indefinite period of time. Notary records are often used at time of death as evidence of a document’s validity.
● Restrict your involvement to assisting your client with signing, dating and notarizing the documents which have been prepared by the attorney.
● You are not an attorney. Refer your client to us for answers to all legal questions. Refer to Things to Remember in the Client Interview for more information on how to respond to client inquiries without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
● If your business model involves the sale of investment and/or insurance products during the delivery and execution of the client’s estate-planning documents use a separate disclosure form to document that your role has changed from estate planner to product sales person. This disclosure should require the client’s signature and be kept in your permanent files.

Things to Avoid when Executing Client Documents

Executing estate planning documents is not difficult but it does require attention to detail. Documents must be executed correctly to avoid problems using the documents that may arise when your client dies. The following are guidelines to ensure that you execute your client’s estate-planning documents in a professional manner:
● Do not let anything delay getting your client’s completed estate-planning documents executed. Time is of the essence. Nothing is more tragic than to have a client unexpectedly die with their estate-planning documents completed but not executed. You do not want to be blamed for any unnecessary delay. If a delay is unavoidable — contact us immediately.
● Do not give legal advice. You are not an attorney. You cannot explain how a specific document impacts your client’s situation. You cannot make suggestions about wording or document content. Any questions about the estate plan should be referred to us.
● Do not notarize any document in advance of the client’s actual signature.
● Do not notarize any document that is incomplete, has blank spaces or unanswered questions. Pay particular attention to Health Care Directives. The Health Care Directive has many items that are to be completed by the client.
● Do not allow anyone named in the document or who is legal heir to act as a witness on any document. Their status as a witness can be contested upon death.
● Do not allow a minor (anyone under the age of 18) to act as a witness on any document. Minors are not permitted by law to act as a witness.
● Do not combine investment or insurance product sales with the execution of estate-planning documents without prior written disclosure. It is imperative that your client knows when your role changes from estate planner to product sales person.

Condensed Paper Intake Form

All client information is submitted to the attorney via the online questionnaire. There may be situations where access to the online interview is not possible, or where for some other reason it is easier for the advisor to take the information using a physical form. The physical intake form is NOT used to create documents, rather it is a guide to assist you as you gather the necessary data to complete the online questionnaire following your appointment with a client.
You can also utilize the paper intake form to make gathering critical information easier and more time effective. You can have your clients download the questionnaire and print it out and answer the questions so by the time they set up an appointment with you or log in on their own to create their estate plan – they have answered the time consuming questions such as guardian designations for their children.

If you opt to use the paper intake form, you should anticipate that you will likely need to contact your client via the phone to gather some information that you missed because you did not rely on the online questionnaire while you were with the client.

It is wise to have a copy of paper intake form with you at every fact finding appointment that can be used if necessary.

Click on the link below to download a copy of the Paper Intake Form

Estate Planning Appointment Preparation Questionnaire

Depending on your client’s personal situation, they will need to answer 20 to 30 questions in order to create their estate plan. The questions are not difficult but a few of them do require some introspection.

The interview will determine the specific type of documents their circumstances will require. To make sure that the interview process is as productive as possible give some thought to the following…

Additionally, it is best for your clients to also have bank accounts (account numbers) and investment account numbers, etc. at the ready .

Download the document here (What to bring to your estate planning appointment)

Understanding Client Response Summary Approval

Response Summary Approval:
Once the Living Trust or Will questions are answered, you will notice a response summary page. This is for the client to review all the information gathered from the online interview.

Note: You can click on any of the response items to edit that particular response.
At the bottom of the response summary page, you will see the following:

 

 

There are two ways for clients to approve their responses:

 

 

1. ‘Get Electronic Approval From The Client’ – If selected, you are prompted to enter the client’s email address, after which the platform sends the client a copy of the response summary. The client then must open the email and approve the responses in order to finish the online interview.

 

 

 

2. ‘Client Cannot Access Email’ – If selected, download and print the response summary and have the client sign it.
The attorney has determined that POAs and Healthcare Directives do not require the additional approval from the client that the living trust requires.

 

 

 

Additional information:
The easiest way to complete the response summary (RS) approval is right from the tool. If you use the ’email the Response Summary’ option found at the bottom of the Response Summary, the client simply clicks the link that the data is correct and the tool will automatically record that the client confirmed data. Be advised – to avoid unnecessary delays and keep the process moving forward, the link in the email times out after 24 hours so it is imperative that the client understands they need to get into their email right away and confirm the accuracy of the information in their file. This feature was intended to be utilized in real-time.*

Best Practice with the Response Summary:
The Estate Guru Professional platform tracks who is logged in. Whenever someone, other than the client themselves, enters data into the online questionnaire, Guru requires that the client sign off on the accuracy of the data as represented in the Response Summary. This is to protect you (and your white label) from someone attempting to claim that the data used to create their plan was in some way inaccurate or was not what the client had intended.

Response Summary Options, Reiterated:
The online system allows two (2) different ways for you to document or verify the accuracy of the data in the online tool: (1) sending the client an email that he can immediately approve the data by clicking a link; or, (2) if the email is problematic (client is not use or have access to email) you print out the Response Summary and get client to initial it as accurate. If you opt for the second option, you keep the hard copy Response Summary in your files. These two options are found at the bottom of the Response Summary, and the tool will not permit you complete an estate plan without securing client’s approval of the data in the Response Summary.

FYI:
Some advisor’s review the data in the online tool by reading with the client line-by-line through the Response Summary at the end of the fact-finding appointment. Then they click the option, ‘I have a signed copy of the RS in my possession’ and they secure the client’s signature when they deliver the documents.

*It is best to make sure you have secured the client’s approval immediately upon completing the online questionnaire.

Let’s use an illustrative example – Let’s say a client was at the bank arranging for wire transfers and the banker completed an application online via his computer and the process requires that the client acknowledge receipt of a disclosure form. The banker could ask if the client had his/her cell phone with them so they could get the email on their phone, if the client said yes, then the banker could send them an email, which could be immediately received on their phone. The client can then open the email and click the ‘I accept’ link in the email and the process could continue. The email my RS works the same way – it is intended to be used in real time whenever possible.

Things to Remember When Meeting With a Client

As an advisor, you are a part of a team of professionals – sales reps, paralegals, attorneys, notaries and others – each dependent on another to deliver high quality estate-planning services to your client. You represent not only yourself when you meet with your client you also represent the attorney or paralegal who will be working up the case. Here are a few guidelines to help you do your part of the process in a timely and professional manner:
● Always defer questions of a legal nature (i.e., analysis of client’s existing estate plan or documents, how title should be held, definitions of or explanations on how a specific clause or document works, etc) to the attorney.

 

● Always say, “I am not an attorney, so I cannot speak with any authority but here is how I understand that to work.” I am not an attorney … should become your mantra.

 

● Make sure to spell the client’s name correctly and verify spelling with client. The client name appears throughout the documents and if it is misspelled the entire portfolio must be reprinted

Things to Avoid When Meeting With A Client

As an advisor, you are a part of a team of professionals – sales reps, paralegals, attorneys, notaries and others – each dependent on another to deliver high quality estate-planning services to your client. You represent not only yourself when you meet with your client you also represent the attorney or paralegal who will be working up the case. Here are a few guidelines to help you do your part of the process in a timely and professional manner:

 

● Do not tell your client that their current estate plan is deficient, wrong or inappropriate. Analysis of documents is the practice of law. (Repeat after me…”I am not an attorney”… mantra.)

 

● Do not tell your client what kind of documents they need. Determining what documents are needed is the practice law. Only a lawyer can evaluate the client’s situation, recommend solutions and create legal documents. (Repeat after me…”I am not an attorney”… mantra.)

 

● Do not say anything that would give your client the impression that you are an attorney. Be careful how you respond to client inquires. Get into the habit of saying “I am not an attorney, so I cannot speak to how that works in your specific situation, but here is how I understand [topic] to work generally.” Follow your layman’s explanation up with a statement like, “That is a great question, lets make sure we ask the attorney to address that.” Then make sure to write the question out for the attorney in the notes on the file. (Repeat after me…”I am not an attorney… mantra”)

 

● Do not answer questions if you do not know the answer. Better to simply say. “I do not know. Let’s ask the attorney to address that.” Then make sure to write the question out for the attorney in the notes on the file. (Repeat after me…”I am not an attorney… mantra”)

 

● Do not over explain the disclaimers or force the client to continue through the online process. If the client does not understand the disclaimers or is hesitant to sign forms simply note client’s reluctance in the client’s file as a question for the attorney and the attorney will explain the substance and/or reason for the disclaimer.

 

● Do not tell your client that their estate plan will reduce their income taxes. The estate plan created by the online platform provides no reduction in your client’s income taxes.

 

● Do not tell your client that their estate plan will provide them protection from creditors. The estate plan created by the online platform offers no additional protections from creditors.

 

● Do not offer unlimited or lifetime services as part of your initial fee. Legal services must be paid for as rendered. It is considered unethical to accept payment today for legal services to be delivered sometime in the future. Such a prepayment is considered a form of indemnification or insurance plan. All prepayment plans require actuarially determined reserves be set aside to guarantee the availability of the financial resources required to deliver on the promises made.

 

● Do not say or do anything that would give the impression that you are affiliated with or represent any group or organization that you are not. Be especially clear if you are marketing to seniors or affinity groups. For example, AARP has issued warnings that unscrupulous trust mills are misusing their organization’s name with seniors.

Updating your Advisor Profile

1. Navigate to the web address you use to access the platform and log in
2. Click the “hamburger” menu in the top right corner of the screen
3. Click “My Account” in the dropdown
4. Fill in missing account information and update incorrect fields
5. Save updated information by clicking “Save”
6. Celebrate – You’ve updated your account information!

 

 

 

 

 

Resetting Your Password

1. Navigate to the web address you use to access the platform

 

2. Click “Forgot your password?”

 

3. Enter your username or email

 

4. Check your email for a password reset link

 

5. Click on the link and enter your new password and account pin (default is 1234)

Client Case Studies

We all know that we need an estate plan in place but to help articulate the point with clients, we have provided four case studies as to why everyone needs an estate plan in place.

Four case studies that demonstrate why everyone needs an estate plan.

● Young and Careless
● Newlyweds
● Aging Parents
● Business Partners
Download the case study PDF here