Estate Planning: Latest Baby Boom Demand on Banks

By Buurma, Christine | American Banker, August 31, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Estate Planning: Latest Baby Boom Demand on Banks


Buurma, Christine, American Banker


Baby boomers nearing retirement are causing a rise in demand for estate planning from banks and other financial services providers, according to industry players.

Clients are seeking help with both their own assets and those they inherit from parents.

Baby boomers are increasingly concerned about inheritance-related issues as they approach retirement, according to Jack Wolfe, a senior vice president and manager of investment management and trust at First National Bank in Fort Collins, Colo.

"The demographics are such that we're starting to talk to more people about estate planning," Mr. Wolfe said. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks also played a role in compelling investors to think about estate planning, he said.

Taxation, too, is a significant concern for clients, particularly as federal estate tax laws diverge from state laws, said Darrell Behnke, a senior vice president at U.S. Bank, which is headquartered in Minneapolis. "Estate tax law is changing, and nobody can really be certain what it's changing to," he said. The bank offers various trust vehicles to limit tax liabilities.

First National can help clients get a broad overview of their finances to determine whether they require estate planning services, Mr. Wolfe said. The bank can also provide a comprehensive overview of an estate plan and offer recommendations for improving it, he said.

The bank has a staff attorney who can provide guidance on inheritance-related issues, and it can also recommend external lawyers with estate planning expertise.

Family issues are typically the most pressing for investors seeking advice, Mr. Wolfe said.

"Particularly in this era of divorces and remarriages, there are a lot of mixed families," he said. "Clients ask, 'How do we treat the various children from different marriages fairly and equally? How do we prevent conflicts?' "

Members of the baby boomer generation, many of whom have inherited large sums from their parents, are also concerned about how an inheritance will affect their own children, he added.

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