According to a recent survey by D.A. Davidson, only one-third of American adults have an estate plan, and only a fraction of those with a plan in place have updated it in the last five years. Reasons for neglecting this important financial responsibility range from the belief that their assets don’t warrant estate planning, to discomfort discussing death and money, to good old-fashioned procrastination.

Financial advisors know better than to let clients’ future legacies fall by the wayside. As trusted stewards of investment portfolios and other matters of wealth, advisors are uniquely positioned to support clients throughout the estate planning process. When you review estate plans with clients, they often don’t need to make any changes. In some cases, you can help clients make minor updates, and from time to time, circumstances warrant a total overhaul of the client’s estate plan. But no matter which of those outcomes you encounter, the client appreciates having another pair of eyes to review their accounts and planning documents.

Here are four ways financial advisors can start this important conversation with hesitant clients.

1. Start small—on your client’s smartphone. Estate planning, like budgeting, can seem overwhelming to clients at first. By starting with small yet meaningful steps, advisors can help motivate clients to tackle bigger questions. For example, during a quarterly check-in, ask your client whether they have designated a legacy contact for their smartphone. It only takes a few minutes to ask them who should have access to their device if they were to suddenly pass away and show them how to record that information in their phone’s settings.

From there, encourage them to review and name beneficiaries for any accounts or life insurance policies that need to be updated. “Do you still want your ex-spouse to be your beneficiary?” is usually an easy question to answer. Start small, and your clients will be more receptive to engaging in more complex tasks in the future.

2. Be proactive based on your knowledge of your clients’ life events. Due to the frequent check-ins and long-term nature of advisor-client relationships, advisors have a natural entry point to bring up the estate planning implications of life events like marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. As an advisor, you engender significant trust for being the first to notice that it’s time to review or update key components of your clients’ financial affairs.

It’s also important to note that while some advisors aren’t comfortable getting into the weeds on estate plans or trusts, most are perfectly qualified to encourage clients to update their legacy contacts and make beneficiary designations on accounts, as well as help them cover off on the basics: a financial power of attorney, healthcare directive and will. You don’t have to be an attorney to make sure your client’s will is up-to-date and accessible to their beneficiaries. These simple steps are critical to making sure a client’s estate plan is executed smoothly.

3. Lead with values, not mortality. Some clients recognize the importance and necessity of estate planning, but put it off because contemplating their own mortality is deeply unsettling. Instead of diving right into the question of what happens to their assets when they die, advisors should lead with an exploration of the client’s values. Help them identify what they care most about and what an inspiring legacy looks like to them.

Establishing clear values is especially important in the context of complex family dynamics, such as balancing the needs and desires of one’s current spouse and children with those of children from one or more previous marriages. Clients may take months to have delicate conversations with their loved ones and make decisions that reflect their wishes. Advisors can help facilitate these discussions, and in doing so make the process of planning for the future less daunting and more gratifying.

4. Summarize complex documents with a simple flowchart. The legal documents involved in estate planning are notoriously dense and complicated, and the truth is that most clients don’t read them. To help clients understand what all that legalese means, create a one-page flowchart that visually represents the mechanics of their estate plan. The flowchart should depict what happens to property, accounts, trusts and other assets over time, including up-to-date dollar amounts for each asset. A “waterfall” format, which shows where assets go after specific milestone dates or events is popular with our clients at Bailard. These flowcharts are tremendously valuable in helping clients see the big picture of their estate plan, and therefore more easily recognize the need for changes as they arise.

Estate planning can feel overwhelming to clients. Fortunately, their trusted financial advisors are well-positioned to help them navigate the process. In addition to having an existing understanding of your client’s circumstances and recent or upcoming life events, financial advisors can serve as a bridge between the client and the successor who will inherit responsibility for the estate once the client has passed. Clients often worry that they will burden the individual(s) they name as heirs or beneficiaries. Knowing that the advisor they trust will be there to provide guidance in their absence contributes to their peace of mind about planning for the future and leaving their legacy.

David Jones is director of estate strategy at Bailard.