Australia’s rapidly ageing population means that financial advisers will increasingly need to deal with clients who die, and with support their grieving families.

Advisers who have experienced the death of a client will understand how stressful it is for those left behind to navigate their financial affairs.

Spouses, siblings and children are often looking for leadership, creating an opportunity for advisers to demonstrate the value and importance of a trusted advice relationship.

In times of economic crisis, such as a recession or market crash, financial advisers are an obvious first port of call. During times of personal crisis, they should also be the go-to person for clients and their families.

In the case of a client passing away, advisers should be able to quickly and confidently provide all necessary financial information and documentation to family members. Think HINs, SRNs, original wills, cost-base information for assets, insurance policies and beneficiary details.

The volume and quality of this information comes down to trust. It can take years for some people to fully trust their adviser. Many people don’t share everything up-front. However, as trust builds through time together and the consistent delivery of quality advice, more information is divulged.

Documentation becomes critical

Documenting client conversations and taking comprehensive notes has always been important but it becomes even more so as people age and their cognitive function gradually declines.

Older people may not perfectly recall the details of every client meeting but a trusted adviser who really understands their situation, preferences and goals, and has detailed notes, will have the information to fill in any gaps for them.

Traditionally, this information has been stored all over the place, making it difficult and time-consuming for advisers and their staff to locate and retrieve. Often valuable information is lost or discarded because the disparate data collected has traditionally had no logical home.