ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- WealthCounsel, a nationwide organization of estate planning attorneys, and Trusts & Estates magazine today released the results of the Third Annual Industry Trends Survey. The announcement came on opening day of the 44th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in Orlando, Florida where several thousand estate planning practitioners gathered for a week-long educational conference.
Key findings from the survey indicate that the biggest challenge facing practitioners today is getting clients in the door. 40 percent of respondents on average said they experienced an increase in business in 2009, while 35 percent experienced a decline in revenue. 20 percent stated their business was unchanged. Attorneys from the northeast and the southeast regions of the country seemed less impacted by the downturn than other regions.
"Given the fact that 40 percent of respondents saw their business increase through the worst economy since the Great Depression, it is obvious that clients are still planning," said Matthew T. McClintock, JD, CEO of WealthCounsel. "Attorneys who spend time sharpening their skills, building referral networks, and improving operational efficiencies will be better positioned for success in the future than other attorneys," McClintock added.
For the third year in a row, the top three reasons clients plan are to avoid probate, to minimize estate taxes, and to prevent familial problems associated with not having an estate plan. Other findings indicated that 74 percent of clients are aged 50 or older. 67 percent predominantly have clients with a net worth under $2 million, while 33 percent predominantly have clients with a net worth of more than $2 million. The complete report may be downloaded at: http://www.wealthcounsel.com/2009_industry_trends_survey.aspx.
"Inasmuch as the annual Industry Trends Survey is relatively new and in a 'benchmark status,' I expect to see even greater participation in future years as the data collected provides attorneys with actionable intelligence they can use to manage their practices," said Rich Santos, Group Publisher for Trusts & Estates.
WealthCounsel initially launched the annual survey in 2007 to monitor the challenges facing practitioners and to maintain a pulse on the estate planning needs of consumers. 712 estate planning attorneys from nearly all 50 states who have been practicing for an average of 20 years participated in the 2009 survey. The Fourth Annual Industry Trends Survey will be conducted in the fall of 2010 and is open to all estate planning attorneys.
WealthCounsel® is a registered trademark of WealthCounsel, LLC headquartered in Madison, WI. As the creator of the WealthDocx estate planning software, WealthCounsel is a membership-based organization of more than 2,000 attorneys whose mission is to help estate planning attorneys practice with greater confidence, efficiency and profitability. WealthCounsel shares ownership in ElderCounsel, LLC, and The Advisors Forum, LLC. For more information, visit www.wealthcounsel.com .
About Trusts & Estates Magazine (Penton Media, Inc.)
Trusts & Estates is the monthly journal for estate planning and wealth management professionals. Published since 1904, Trusts & Estates continues a long tradition of editorial excellence and credibility in the high-net-worth arena. Monthly issues focus on new tax legislation, ethics, investment strategies, financial planning, elder law, charitable giving and financial services. Visit www.trustsandestates.com