The UK has an ageing population, which means there is likely to be increasing demands on advisers to provide end of life planning.
With so many people living longer, even if they are suffering from ill health, it is more likely they will continue to need advice about their changing financial circumstances into old age.
Fiona Tait, technical director at Intelligent Pensions, explains: “Statistics show that wealth is concentrated in older age groups, particularly the baby boomers, who will naturally be looking for ways to pass this onto their chosen heirs.
“At the same time, people are living longer and will need to ensure that they retain enough income and wealth to sustain them through old age.”
She believes: “Advisers are ideally placed to help people balance the need to meet their own expenses, including those that might arise in old age, with the desire to pass their hard-earned money to the people they want to have it, as tax-efficiently as possible.”
As the chart below shows, wealth is accumulating among the older generation.
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey, Office for National Statistics
Mark Moran, director of intermediary sales at Golden Charter, suggests clients are confronting their end of life planning options, citing figures which show that more than 200,000 people planned their funeral in advance in 2017.
“Many of those will be clients of financial advisers and an increasing number are talking to their adviser about the subject,” he says.
“Therefore, in my opinion, it is becoming more and more natural for clients to expect subject matter of this type to be raised at client meetings, and for the adviser to be able to offer a range of solutions to all elements of later life, whether that’s help with care costs or planning the specific elements of their funeral service.”
He notes: “If advisers broach the subject around end of life in a proactive but sensitive manner then I’m absolutely certain they’ll be surprised at how many clients have firm thoughts on these subjects.”
Poised for growth
The pension freedoms, which have created numerous options for those reaching or in retirement, mean clients are likely to seek advice more frequently in their later years.
Stuart Wilson, Zurich’s head of retail platform strategy, confirms the market for end of life planning is poised for significant growth, and that this is driven by the increasing demand for drawdown over annuities.
He explains: “Drawdown requires people to make complex investment and withdrawal decisions far into old age.
“We found almost a third (30 per cent) of people already in drawdown will rely on an adviser if they become too old or ill to manage their pension.”
He adds: “A further two in five (39 per cent) said they’d rely on their partner or family if they can no longer look after their drawdown finances, who in turn might speak to an adviser.”