Like many employers, you likely offer life insurance as part of your employee benefits package. While these policies provide financial protection for loved ones at the end of an employee’s life, there’s a lot more that can be done to provide peace of mind. That’s where estate planning comes in.
An estate plan is a collection of one or more documents that give instructions related to your passing — as well as your desires for children and pets, the disposition of your estate, and your final arrangements.
You can help employees with estate planning by offering it as a benefit and engaging them during moments that matter. Take a look at the unique engagement opportunities you have as an employer.
Engaging employees in estate planning
As an employer who offers benefits, you’re often made aware of when certain milestones happen in employees’ lives. Why? Because it’s likely related to a qualified life event that enables them to update their coverage. There are also certain events you initiate on your end that likely impact an employee’s financial situation (e.g. salary changes, promotions, etc.).
Here are 5 key events that can be used as a trigger to educate employees on the importance of estate planning and how easy it can be to create an estate plan online.
When an employee gets married, there are several different ways they may notify you as their employer. It could be a name change, update to their medical coverage, or changing beneficiary information. The most certain way to tell is the update to medical coverage. This requires proof of the marriage to make the change outside of open enrollment.
You can use this update as a trigger to send a:
- Congratulatory note from the company
- Checklist of things to consider as the employee and their partner embark on their life together
One of the biggest considerations is deciding what will happen to their assets should something happen to one or both people.
2. Birth/Adoption of a child
Having a child or adopting a child is a game changer. Outside of the 24/7 care a child needs, there’s a lot of immediate things to do like:
- Ordering birth certificates
- Applying for social security
- Adding that child to health insurance
- Determining which parent will care for the child after they return to work
New parents should also be reminded the importance of ensuring who will take care of their child should anything happen to them. Creating a will allows them to appoint a legal guardian if they’re no longer there to care for them.
It’s also important to note that a will or trust should be updated for each new child that is born. You can also send subsequent reminders as children reach 18 to update or create new wills accordingly.
a will or trust should be updated for each new child that is born. You can also send subsequent reminders as children reach 18 to update or create new wills accordingly.
Like marriage, you’ll likely receive a notification if an employee divorces their spouse via:
- Name changes, or
- Updates to insurance coverage or beneficiaries
Again, it’s a qualified life event that requires proof to make a change to their benefits.
Though divorce can be tough, it’s a good time to remind employees to update any existing estate plans that they may have — with or without their spouse. Divorce attorneys and associated legal fees are expensive, and your employees would appreciate you giving them an easy, affordable solution.
4. Big raise
Getting a salary increase is exciting. Employees instantly start thinking about what they’ll do with the extra money. If you offer life insurance that’s tied to employee salary, they also receive another “hidden” bonus.
Since you as the employer initiated this change, you can be sure it comes with the important reminder about the ways they can protect their financial wellbeing. You can include a note to review their beneficiaries as well as their current estate plan to make sure it’s up to date with all their latest assets.
5. Open enrollment
Open enrollment is the biggest opportunity you have to engage employees in the various plans you offer to protect their physical and financial well-being. Depending on what benefits you provide and the coverage they choose, there are a number of ways you can weave in communication about estate planning:
- Family medical coverage: If an employee enrolls in family coverage, you can include a reminder that creating or updating a will can make sure their family is protected.
- Life insurance: Life insurance pays out a lump sum to a beneficiary at the end of employee’s life, but it doesn’t provide direction for other assets like will can.
- Pet insurance: Guardians for pets can be named in a will along with distributions of money from the estate to care for them.
Trust & Will has partnered with Zenefits to enable small businesses to offer the unique benefit of simple, affordable estate planning. It’s easy for employees to sign up directly through the Trust & Will website, or you can work with Trust & Will to create a plan for your employees. Find out more here.
BONUS: National Awareness Estate Planning Week
Did you know that October 17-23, 2022 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week? This is a great time to educate your employees about why estate planning is so critical. According to national averages, 67% of your employees don’t have a basic will, and could use your help.
Reach out to Trust & Will to customize a special offer for your employees that can save them — and their loved ones — time and money.