The Trusted Contact Nothing Burger with Tom West & Suzanne Schmitt

Tom West is a Senior Partner with Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC, providing personalized financial planning and investment services to families in the Washington DC metro area. 

Suzanne Schmitt is a financial wellness expert with nearly two decades of industry experience in consumer insights, product development and positioning, and marketing and market enablement in financial services.

In this episode of The Family Financial Conversation, Tom and Suzanne explore how financial institutions often fall short in addressing elder financial abuse, leading to disparities among advisors in managing trusted contacts.

Topics they also discussed:

  • The origin of the "trusted contact" concept in the financial industry, aimed at protecting clients, particularly the elderly.
  • How financial institutions inadequately address elder financial abuse, resulting in inconsistent standards among advisors for identifying and managing trusted contacts.
  • The challenges faced by advisors in obtaining support and making decisions about trusted contacts and clients with cognitive impairments are discussed.
  • The difficulties of implementing trusted contact programs and the importance of engaging clients proactively.
  • The lack of just-in-time resources and institutional support frustrates advisors in handling client transitions and managing assets.
  • Aligning financial planning with clients' changing priorities, focusing on end-of-life care and estate planning.
  • The need for improved support and proactive communication from institutions to meet clients' needs and maintain strong advisor-client relationships.

Resources: Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC.