Website of the Month: National Association of Financial & Estate Planning (NAFEP)

By Susan B. Anders

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The National Association of Financial & Estate Planning website, www.nafep.com, offers a selection of useful estate and business planning materials. NAFEP is a for-profit organization, providing estate, business, and legal expertise to CPAs, attorneys, and financial planners and their clients, but the website is free and available to any visitor. Although there are some inconsistencies, the website also represents a good example of approaches to organizing and publishing technical materials, as well as promoting an organization.

The NAFEP website presents a common format on all pages, which makes navigation and resource location easy. The main menu bar at the top of each page features the four major organizational groupings of the
website: “Estate Planning,” “Business Entities,” “NAFEP Info,” and “Prof Info Center.” The secondary horizontal menu features “Home,” “Contacts,” and “Member Login.”

The NAFEP website is a good example of a clear and attractive presentation of technical material in a text format with minimal graphics. Although the website is aimed at professionals, the format will be appealing to other users. The topical discussions are presented in HTML format, with some links to .pdf versions. The HTML formats offer links to related web pages on the site. One useful feature is links to a mail-in form for requesting available booklets, although these links are not offered consistently. Additionally, the website utilizes an online form for the Certified Estate Advisor application (discussed below) that would also be helpful for information requests.

Estate Planning and Business Entities

The “Estate Planning” section includes materials covering general estate planning concerns, asset protection, capital gains tax deferral, planning under the 2001 Tax Act, charitable foundations, and special interest. Under general estate planning concerns, the “Estate Planning Basics” document is worth reviewing. Although the document is obviously aimed at selling NAFEP’s services, it still provides a helpful description of why estate planning is important, problems that can arise with insufficient planning, the purpose of a will, and a fundamental explanation of trusts.

Another article, “Estate Planning Under the Tax Act of 2001,” briefly describes the changes in the estate and gift taxes, and explains why estate planning is still important. As mentioned above, these articles are provided for marketing purposes, but they still provide good background discussions.

Prof Info Center

NAFEP offers a Certified Estate Advisor (CEA) designation. A 25-page downloadable information booklet is available, along with an online application form in its Professional Information Center. This section also provides recent newsletters in .pdf format. The simple, yet professional, appearance and quick download of the newsletters sets a good example to follow.

NAFEP Info

The NAFEP “Info” webpages make for a small but powerful promotional tool. NAFEP has made a good marketing effort using a simple approach. The “More About NAFEP” webpage explains the organization’s purpose and core competencies. Importantly, it presents the names and images of the top personnel, along with descriptions of their professional backgrounds. The “Products & Services, Download Brochure” section lists the organization’s major products, with brief descriptions and links to two-page brochures. The brochures download quickly, and are clean and professional in appearance. The “Check Our References” page is an interesting and eye-catching set of hyperlinks to 16 unrelated websites that have referenced the NAFEP.


Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor at St. Bonaventure University, N.Y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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