Clients are concerned about the potential impact of an administration change in 2020, and many planners are already taking action.

According to a recent survey of 720 Trust & Estates readers, some 55% report that their clients have expressed consternation about the possibility of a new president in 2020.

Regardless of how one feels about President Trump as a leader, or even a person, the markets have performed extremely well during his time in office, and even clients who would welcome change with open arms on political grounds are, nonetheless, concerned that their wallets may take a hit. Some 47% of respondents have favorable views toward Trump’s performance from a financial and estate planning perspective. Policies such as the vast increase in the estate tax exemptions and the favorable opportunity zone regulations were called out as particularly beneficial to high-net-worth clients.

46% of respondents note they are already taking action to protect clients from downside risk stemming from political uncertainty. Among the most popular techniques mentioned are: working increased flexibility into plans, rebalancing portfolios toward more conservative options (fixed income), ramping up charitable gifting and embracing the potential benefits of spousal lifetime access trusts, which have emerged as one of the more favorable options to ensure planning flexibility in the face of potential turmoil.

However, not all planners think an administration change is a bad thing, 27% of respondents believe that a new president will positively impact their clients’ plans, while 18% harbor mixed emotions about what a new president may mean.

David Lenok, for Trusts & Estates

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