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'Tis the Season... Estate Planning Seminar Season

By Andy Ragone

"Been there, done that!"

When I explain the value of hosting an estate planning seminar with an organization, the pitch is often met with a yawn, followed by a cordial explanation of how any previous attempt at running an estate planning seminar had produced lackluster results.

"We've done estate planning seminars before, and the results were... well, meh."

Inevitably, the conversation then moves to me asking about how the advisor team carried out the follow-up. Did both an estate planning attorney and financial advisor present? After all, wealth building generally precedes estate planning. Did they offer free consultations back at the same location? Did they have a sign-up sheet (or QR code) at the end, and did they have a system to help those interested to take their next steps?

The response? "Uh, well, we're not sure what was done."

While my goal was not to be the grand inquisitor, I asked these questions based on the background of having seen them done many times before. In many cases, the sessions themselves were good, though I have seen some train wrecks over the years. But the quality of the session itself wasn't the problem. Instead, the mediocre results were due to no clear follow-up strategy.

So, we see estate planning seminars as a vital way to produce new interest and new leads each year. We also see them as a key ingredient to gaining traction for our programs.

March through May is the ideal season for hosting an estate planning seminar, provided a foundation has been set by a sound marketing strategy for 2-3 months beforehand. This Spring, we are running fourteen (that number seems to be going up) sessions for the various organizations we serve, and in each case, we are seeing significant momentum of increasing donor interest. This is for creating an estate plan and learning how to donate with greater tax savings strategies. 

Estate planning is good for everyone involved:

Good for Donors:

Estate planning seminars teach people about how to plan for what happens to their money and belongings after they pass away. Here, we explain why it's essential to have a plan in place so family members do not have to deal with legal issues, excessive expenses, and especially arguments that inevitably happen when an heir feels slighted. They also help individuals understand the differences between doing nothing, creating a will-based plan versus a trust-based plan, and why avoiding probate is a good and less expensive way to go.

By attending these seminars, donors learn how to protect their assets for their children and grandchildren. They also learn how to ensure that their wishes are followed so their families stay united. Additionally, estate planning seminars show them how to integrate their financial plans with their longer-range estate plans. Ultimately, these seminars help donors leave meaningful legacies for loved ones and causes they care about.

Good for Advisors:

Our estate planning attorneys and financial advisors are dedicated to helping their clients (donors) complete their estate and financial plans. With free consultations and consistent follow-up, it isn't uncommon to see 50-60% of those who sign up complete their plans within a short time after the seminar. It's simply good for business.

Good for Organizations:

While seminar sessions may vary in size--we had nine last week and around seventy this week--organizations are encouraged to see that our advisors help secure estate gifts and that donors demonstrate interest in learning about other ways to give. The estate plan is only the beginning. Just today, we chatted with an individual who owns several properties and is unsure with what to do with them. That led to us scheduling a further chat about her goals and working through her options. 

Estate planning seminars become a springboard into future seminars, and those who attended will wish to return with colleagues, family, and friends. Estate planning seminars also grow over time—they grow in size and help gain significant momentum.

Click here to learn more about Pleiades and how we run our estate planning seminars.

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