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Optimizing Probate: Empower Your Clients with Digital Estate Planning

Probate. The word evokes visions of drawn-out legal proceedings, piles of paperwork, and needless stress for families going through a trying period. Financial services partners recognize the value of guiding clients through challenging financial circumstances. For loved ones, optimizing the probate process can be a game-changer when it comes to estate planning.

Digital estate planning offers game-changing services for customers and members, as well as business opportunities for your organization. Using cutting-edge technology, providers can offer clients and members a comprehensive solution that expedites the probate process, reduces expenses and guarantees a more seamless inheritance experience for their beneficiaries. You can be their hero in a time of need.

Why Is Optimizing Probate Important?

The traditional probate process can be a significant burden on families. Here are some key challenges:

  • Time: Probate can take months, sometimes years, to complete, leaving beneficiaries waiting to access their inheritance.
  • Cost: Attorney and court fees and other associated costs can significantly erode the estate’s value.
  • Complexity: Navigating the legalities of probate can be overwhelming for beneficiaries unfamiliar with the intricacies.
  • Stress: Dealing with probate on top of grieving a loved one’s loss creates immense emotional strain.

By optimizing probate, you can help your clients mitigate these challenges. Digital technology provides the optimal route for doing that.

How Digital Estate Planning Optimizes Probate

OneDigitalTrust offers a secure, user-friendly platform that simplifies estate planning and streamlines the probate process. This capability can be significant to your clients as they’re working out their estate plans and looking to protect their assets for their beneficiaries. Here’s how it can help:

  • Centralized Organization: Users can arrange all their assets, beneficiary designations and other important information in one location using our safe and secure platform. This guarantees that beneficiaries know precisely where to get what they need and eliminates the needless and time-consuming hunt for documentation.
  • Asset Inventory & Distribution: Our solution securely warehouses that thorough list as users add all their assets and liabilities. The streamlined identification and distribution notations save beneficiaries time and frustration.
  • Educational Materials: In the right-hand column, OneDigitalTrust provides insightful and actionable educational materials to help users make decisions about their assets. Additionally, it offers quizzes to test users’ knowledge.
  • Options for Handling Assets in OneDigitalTrust Estate Planning –
    • Assigning Beneficiaries: When the user assigns beneficiaries to their assets, probate is eliminated. The platform will show the funds that bypass probate, what the estate could owe in probate and how long probate could take. The dollar amounts and length of time both get smaller the more assets are assigned to beneficiaries.
    • Joint Accounts: When a couple or two other people hold an account jointly with a right of survivorship, it automatically passes to the joint account holder upon the other’s passing.
    • Pay on Death/Transfer on Death: The user can tell the bank or other steward of their assets that the account is to go to a particular person upon the account holder’s death.
  • Possibility of Family Conflict: The user can choose the probability of a family member(s) fighting for a share of the assets. This can also be factored into the probate costs and time involved inside the platform.

Once you’ve optimized your probate exposure enough, the estate may qualify for a fast-track probate, which can be just a couple of days. Each state is different, so users should ensure they know their state’s laws, rules and regulations involving probate.

Benefits for Financial Services Professionals

Offering digital estate planning services creates a competitive advantage for your firm or financial institution by enhancing your value proposition in three ways:

  • Stronger Client Relationships: Digital estate planning demonstrates your commitment to providing holistic wealth management solutions that address your clients’ long-term needs. This fosters more profound, loyal client relationships built on trust and personalized service.
  • Expanded Service Offerings: By incorporating digital estate planning into your existing portfolio, you can offer a comprehensive suite of services that caters to your clients’ evolving needs throughout their lives.
  • Differentiating Your Financial Advisory or Financial Institution: Digital estate planning is growing. Integrating this service positions your organization as a forward-thinking institution that prioritizes the financial well-being of its members and clients across generations.

Leading-edge digital estate planning services like OneDigitalTrust enable you to provide your clients with an effective solution for optimizing the probate process. Minimizing complexities and reducing costs helps the families you serve navigate a challenging time with greater clarity and peace of mind.

170M Americans need an estate plan. OneDigitalTrust offers a white-label, turnkey estate planning platform with pricing options tailored to the needs of individual credit unions and financial advisors.

Contact us today to learn more!

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Blog INSIGHTS

Digital Estate Planning Rounds Out Financial Advisors’ Wheelhouse

The estate planning process is daunting on an emotional and practical level. It’s also costly, with a maze of legal documentation and pricey lawyers. Digital estate planning tools are revolutionizing the field; they offer a more accessible, streamlined and cost-effective approach for financial advisors to guide their clients.

For financial advisors taking on estate planning, your clients benefit from a simplified process and reduced costs. Still, these tools also empower financial advisors to deepen their engagement by providing more holistic, life-long services through the end of the individual’s personal financial journey.

Unveiling the Benefits: Efficiency, Affordability, and Accuracy

Digital estate planning platforms like OneDigitalTrust deftly use technology to expedite the procedure and provide numerous significant benefits.

First, it eliminates the necessity for drawn-out legal consultations. Digital platforms help users identify and classify physical and digital assets, everything from gold bars to cryptocurrency. Robust platforms like OneDigitalTrust seamlessly use that data to produce personalized legal documents, like power of attorney directives, wills, trusts and even sharing of life stories, guaranteeing their finances and their legacy are securely recorded for the next generation.

Second, digital estate planning offers significant cost savings over traditional estate planning, which can deter people from taking the necessary steps. Digital platforms typically charge a subscription fee or a one-time flat fee, making the process far more affordable. This allows a broader range of individuals to secure their legacies without breaking the bank.

Third, digital platforms allow the user to create accurate and clear documents. OneDigitalTrust’s platform produces documents at about a 10th grade reading level without compromising the legal veracity. Of course, as their trusted advisor, you can provide a seamless digital experience for your clients and, as necessary, help guide them through the process. Employing a systematic approach and state templates, these technologies reduce the possibility of mistakes or omissions that often afflict these documents. This helps ensure a more seamless transfer of assets following the death of a loved one.

The Advisor’s Evolving Role: From Investments to Invaluable Guidance

Importantly, your advisory can offer digital estate planning to keep your financial advisors in your client’s entire wealth management process rather than handing them off to an attorney and never hearing anything more about it. While these platforms can automate much of the process, complexities still arise, and your relationship and expertise can make you a hero.

Financial advisors are well-versed in all aspects of their clients’ financial circumstances, including insurance plans, retirement accounts and investment portfolios. Digital estate planning tools are critical to making an advisor’s services more comprehensive with limited additional time commitment.

OneDigitalTrust can help record beneficiary designations by asset, which are available in a visual waterfall of the distribution of assets. Our Financial Advisors portal helps financial advisors engage customers in a meaningful dialogue that supports their long-term financial outcomes and demonstrates tremendous added value with little effort on the advisor’s part.

By initiating and continuing discussions about digital legacies, advisors can foster trust and demonstrate their commitment to a client’s long-term well-being. This strengthens the bond between advisor and client, positioning the advisor as a trusted confidant – not just a trusted financial manager.

The Financial Advantage: New Revenue Streams and Client Retention

Financial advisors have much to gain from digital estate planning. Advisors and their employers can tap new services, glean additional data on their clients, and even help prevent elder financial abuse through OneDigitalTrust’s estate planning platform.

Moreover, digital estate planning fosters client retention. Clients who receive comprehensive financial planning, including digital legacy management, are more likely to maintain a long-term relationship with their advisor, boosting the chances of keeping that relationship with the next generation. This capability bolsters the advisor and the organization’s reputation as a comprehensive wealth management solutions provider.

Ultimately, OneDigitalTrust’s digital estate planning solution enables advisers to increase their value by streamlining the procedure, saving members and customers money, and guaranteeing safe and correct legacy records.

Financial advisors who leverage modern technology can establish themselves as trustworthy in the digital world as it rapidly evolves, creating new revenue sources and building stronger client relationships.

170M Americans need an estate plan. OneDigitalTrust offers a white-label, turnkey estate planning platform with pricing options tailored to the needs of individual credit unions and financial advisors.

Contact us today to learn more!

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Why Executors & Advisors need to be concerned about undue Influence leading to (financial) elder abuse

The Problem

The population in the U.S. is aging rapidly with the 65+ age group poised to double within the next 20 years. An unwanted, yet invariable side-effect is that the occurrences of (financial) elder abuse will also experience a remarkable increase. As the level of incapacity progresses among the seniors in our population they become more vulnerable to undue influence leading to financial elder abuse. An example is – dementia. With 10 million people suffering every year from symptoms including memory loss, diminished decision-making and trouble communicating, dementia is robbing our older population of both their daily functioning and their agency. Already, a massive demographic of citizens are vulnerable to undue influence. This concerning trend sets the groundwork for a deeper look into  “undue influence”, and how it affects incapacitated people.

What is “Undue Influence”?

Undue influence does not have a one size fits all definition. However, in every situation involving undue influence, common elements emerge: an incapacitated person, unable to make their own decisions, maintains a close relationship with an individual who possesses some level of authority over them. This enables them to make decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf and ultimately manipulate the situation for their own benefit. 

In a legal sense, some states define undue influence as when a fiduciary or confidential relationship exists in which one person substitutes his own will for that of the influenced person’s will. This usually occurs when a mentally or physically incapacitated person creates their will before their health issues begin, and someone convinces them to change their wishes after they are incapacitated. This could happen when a family member isolates the incapacitated person from other relationships, influencing them to distrust others and eventually pressures them to make certain decisions that they wouldn’t make if not persuaded. However, Executors, Advisors and loved ones can do their part to ensure that the wishes of the incapacitated person are being respected and carried out.

What can financial advisors and executors do?

Executors and Advisors should be aware that the overwhelming majority of undue influence is motivated by family members seeking (financial) benefit from committing elder abuse – children and spouses/partners may often be the key offenders. As a financial advisor or an executor for someone beginning to show signs of incapacity, which is preventing them from making their own decisions, it’s important to be aware of the threat of undue influence. An example is – to notice when the person has become highly dependent on a specific person for help with daily functioning, emotional or financial decision-making. Also, be aware if this specific person is seemingly always supervising or accompanying them in a way that seems to be allowing the person to exert control. These could be red flags that undue influence can occur shortly, if not already.

There are measures that can be taken to prevent your client or loved one from becoming a victim of it. Financial advisors could leverage a comprehensive estate planning platform to properly document their incapacitated client’s wishes and financial goals that were discussed when they were still able to make their own decisions. Both financial advisors and executors of incapacitated individuals should be watchful for repeated signs of growing incapacity – memory, hygiene, judgment, mood among other factors and maintain consistent communication with the incapacitated person’s family members and trusted caregivers to watch for any signs of undue influence. 

How “smart” digital platforms can help

Another key observation is that prior to the introduction of online estate & inheritance planning platforms, undue influence was much harder to commit. It could take a long time to convince an incapacitated person to change their mind about their wishes and then visit the  attorney’s office to  get a modified will drawn up. In this new age of all-digital technology, online estate planning platforms make it simple and affordable for users to create estate plans and make unlimited changes (small and large) rapidly. 

As a result, it’s more important than ever for such digital technology platforms to embed “smart” safeguards to uncover and detect undue influence from becoming more commonplace for our elderly population. 

To prevent (financial) elder abuse from occurring in the first place, Executors, Advisors and loved ones are required to develop heightened awareness to safeguard seniors as they detect signs of oncoming incapacity. The Advisor Portal from OneDigitalTrust leverages “smart” technology to notify Advisors in cases where high(er) characteristics of (financial) elder abuse may exist. 

Schedule a demo to see the OneDigitalTrust  Advisor Portal in action. 

By Alia Hardy
Customer Success Team

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Preserving Trust and Legacy: The Vital Role of Estate Planning for Financial Advisors

For financial advisors, one truth stands out above all others–trust is paramount. Clients entrust their financial legacies to you, and it’s your responsibility to guide them in safeguarding their family’s future. A profound way to foster trust and demonstrate commitment is by helping clients develop and comprehend estate planning strategies. This blog post will explore how financial advisors can leverage estate planning to build trust and preserve their clients’ family legacies for generations.

The Essence of Estate Planning for Advisors

Estate planning extends beyond drafting wills or creating trusts. It’s a fundamental component of comprehensive financial planning that transcends age, income, and net worth. At its core, estate planning involves creating a structured strategy to manage assets, minimize taxes, and ensure the seamless execution of clients’ wishes following their passing.

For financial advisors, estate planning is not just a service but a way to underscore your commitment to your clients’ long-term financial security while helping them ensure their assets end up where intended. Estate planning allows you to empower your clients with knowledge and expertise, helping them make informed decisions about their financial legacies.

1. Understanding Clients’ Aspirations and Goals

Building trust begins with meaningful conversations to help you understand your clients personally and financially. Take the time to learn about their unique aspirations, concerns, and values. Some key aspects to explore include:

  • Asset Distribution: Identify their preferences regarding the distribution of assets among heirs, charities, or other beneficiaries.
  • Tax Efficiency: Discuss strategies for minimizing estate taxes and preserving a more significant portion of their wealth for their loved ones.
  • Guardianship: Address concerns related to guardianship and financial support for minor children or dependents.
  • End-of-Life Healthcare: Determine their healthcare directives, medical power of attorney, and preferences for medical decisions.

By actively listening and demonstrating empathy, you establish a foundation of trust that goes beyond mere financial advice.

2. Empowering Clients through Education

Estate planning can be complex, with various options and strategies to consider. As a trusted advisor, your role involves educating your clients so they can make informed decisions. Essential estate planning tools and techniques to discuss include:

  • Wills and Trusts: Clarify the significance of wills and trusts in specifying asset distribution and minimizing probate complexities.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Emphasize the importance of designating beneficiaries on financial accounts and insurance policies to streamline the asset transfer process.
  • Power of Attorney: Highlight the value of granting power of attorney to a trusted individual to manage financial and legal affairs if needed.
  • Healthcare Directives: Stress the importance of advanced healthcare directives to ensure their medical preferences are respected.
  • Tax Planning: Explore strategies like gifting, charitable giving, and other methods to reduce estate tax liabilities.

By providing clear explanations and guiding your clients through their estate planning options, you empower them to make decisions aligned with their family’s best interests.

3. Collaboration with Legal Experts

While you offer valuable insights into estate planning, it’s crucial to collaborate with legal professionals, such as estate planning attorneys, to ensure the legal soundness and comprehensiveness of your clients’ plans. Encourage your clients to consult legal experts who can draft documents and provide precise legal guidance.

By advocating a collaborative approach, you demonstrate your dedication to creating comprehensive and legal estate plans for your clients, further cementing their trust in your expertise.

4. Continuous Review and Adaptation

Estate planning is not a one-time task; it demands periodic review and adjustments. Encourage your clients to revisit their plans regularly, mainly when significant life events occur, such as marriages, divorces, births, or changes in financial circumstances. Offer your support during these reviews to ensure their estate plans remain relevant and effective.

Estate Planning for Advisors

As a financial advisor, your guidance through the intricacies of estate planning is a potent trust-building tool. By comprehending your clients’ goals, educating them on their options, collaborating with legal experts, and providing ongoing support, you help clients preserve their family’s legacy and confirm your unwavering commitment to their financial well-being. Through this commitment, you build trust and guarantee a lasting legacy for generations to come—a legacy that reflects your dedication and expertise as a trusted advisor.

Is your firm ready to incorporate cutting-edge, turn-key technologies into your financial planning process? Get started today, and register for your free Advisor Portal!

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How Financial Institutions & Advisors Use Estate Planning Services to Grow Their Business

As the number of people searching for estate planning guidance is on the rise, trusted financial advisors, like credit unions, banks and advisory firms, looking to impact the growth of their businesses are seeking partnerships with the best estate planning software providers. Adding estate and inheritance planning to your portfolio will position your organization as the go-to source for financial guidance and unlock new revenue and business expansion avenues. In this article, we’ll discuss three ways estate planning software for financial advisors can help your firm grow and thrive.

1. Streamline Business Operations

Efficiency is the bedrock of any thriving business, and financial institutions and advisory firms are no exception. Estate planning software solutions that offer an all-inclusive estate and inheritance platform for advisors to invite customers to create and manage their own end-of-life documents can be a game-changer by adding new sources of income while streamlining your business processes:

  • Document Management: Traditional estate planning often involves an overwhelming amount of paperwork. Utilizing one centralized estate planning platform allows you to digitize and centralize all client documents in a secure online repository –reducing the risk of document loss or misplacement and allowing for swift and easy retrieval when needed.
  • Workflow Automation: Repetitive tasks like document generation, appointment scheduling, and client reminders can consume a significant portion of your staff’s time. Estate planning solutions that optimize business processes free up valuable time and resources that can be redirected toward more client-focused activities.
  • Compliance Assurance: Regulatory compliance is non-negotiable in the financial sector. The best estate planning software often comes equipped with built-in compliance features, helping your firm stay on the right side of the law. This mitigates potential risks and enhances your reputation as trustworthy and compliant.

2. Nurture Client Relationships

Relationships are the lifeblood of any financial institutions or advisory firm. Comprehensive estate planning can play a pivotal role in nurturing and deepening these relationships:

  • Personalized Planning: End-of-life preparation is a deeply personal and emotional process for clients. Estate planning software allows you to deliver a more personalized experience and guarantee the highest level of financial guidance while tailoring your services to each client’s unique needs and circumstances. This level of personalization fosters trust, enhances client satisfaction, and helps cultivate authentic connections.
  • Improved Communication: Effective communication is key to maintaining strong relationships. Estate planning platforms often include communication tools such as secure messaging and notifications. These features enable you to easily stay in touch with your clients, providing updates, answering queries, and addressing concerns promptly.
  • Collaborative Planning: Collaborative planning is made easier with estate planning software. You and your clients can work together on their estate plans in real time, fostering a sense of partnership and shared responsibility. Clients appreciate the transparency and involvement in this crucial aspect of their financial future.

3. Embrace Tech-Driven Solutions

Consumers expect their banks, credit unions and financial advisors to embrace technology and seek convenient, all-digital services. Leading estate planning software and platforms designed for institutions and advisory firms enable your team to do just that:

  • Competitive Edge: Offering cutting-edge technology solutions sets your firm apart. Consumers are more likely to choose a financial advisor who uses modern tools and software to enhance their services and the client experience. 
  • Remote Accessibility: Estate planning software is often cloud-based, allowing you and your clients to access and update their plans from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility is especially valuable in an increasingly remote and mobile world.
  • Data Security: The sensitive nature of estate planning data requires top-notch security. Reputable estate planning software providers invest heavily in data security measures, ensuring your client’s information remains confidential.

The Best Estate Planning Software

Seizing opportunities for growth and expansion is paramount to success. Estate planning platforms can be a powerful ally in achieving these goals. With OneDigitalTrust’s award-winning estate planning platform and Advisor Portal, you can streamline business processes, nurture long-term client relationships, and embrace tech-driven solutions to help your firm stay ahead of the curve and position itself for long-term success in a competitive marketplace. Contact our team today to learn more about digital estate and inheritance planning and how you and your clients can benefit!

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Asset Retention & The Benefits of Modernized Estate Planning

Wealth advisors are entrusted to protect their client’s assets and financial legacies for future generations, and modern estate plan software plays a pivotal role in helping firms achieve this goal. Your firm has likely developed an offering stack that serves the client’s best interests, aiming to diversify revenue streams, bolster loyalty, and increase customer share of wallet. Nevertheless, like many in the industry, retaining these assets beyond the initial generation can be challenging. While most firms can agree on the importance of catering to their clients, not everyone is leveraging the benefits of modernized estate planning services to create relationship alpha and establish opportunities with the next generation. In this article, we’ll delve into how leading wealth advisors leverage modern estate planning software to bridge the gap with beneficiaries they protect and generate lasting revenue for their firm.

Transferring Wealth and Advisor

Fostering more profound relationships and cultivating unwavering trust with clients is key to positioning your firm as the ultimate financial resource. Industry research firm Cerulli Associates predicts $72.6 trillion in assets will pass down to heirs through 2045. Yet, asset retention remains a significant hurdle for the long-term success of advisory firms. Shockingly, studies indicate that over 80% of the children inheriting their parents’ wealth will ultimately seek new advisors. This statistic places approximately $112 trillion in assets and the advisors overseeing them in jeopardy amid the most substantial wealth transfer in history. As a result, advisors leverage the benefits of modernized estate planning to address churn and increase opportunities to engage with future generations.

Comprehensive Financial Planning

Providing customers with a holistic financial experience is high on the list for firms looking to expand into new demographics. This approach transcends traditional financial advisory by encompassing various aspects of an individual’s economic life, ensuring a more holistic and meaningful relationship between advisors and their clients. Modern estate planning platforms play a pivotal role in this transformation. By leveraging low-cost estate plan software solutions to enhance core service offerings, wealth advisors can create a unified, end-to-end approach to their financial management by consolidating financial planning and estate planning under one roof. 

Estate planning platforms, embedded with sophisticated tools and optimized with data-driven features, are a high priority for firms looking to modernize and enhance their portfolio. The best estate plan software, designed specifically for the mass affluent, will generate actionable insights, forecast potential roadblocks, and identify missed opportunities. These cutting-edge capabilities empower advisors with the information needed to provide tailored recommendations for truly comprehensive financial guidance.

Secure Cross-Generational Clientele

With more than half of Americans choosing digital wallets over traditional payment methods, it’s no surprise that advisors are seeking modernized solutions for their tech-savvy customer base. Firms that offer a convenient and affordable solution for clients to protect their life’s legacy demonstrate higher value and a commitment to servicing clients’ needs and digital preferences. Conversely, those who resist advancing to modernized solutions risk alienating the generations seeking them. For instance, Gen X represents a tech-savvy and sizable demographic that prefers self-service options like on-demand access to create and manage their end-of-life documents. 

The best estate planning platform streamlines processes through user education and self-guided onboarding. These platforms facilitate the establishment of representatives and assignment of estate planning roles, such as executor, trustee, financial/healthcare power of attorney representatives, and more. Armed with this knowledge, advisors can initiate a genuine dialogue that serves their clients’ families while creating opportunities to cultivate relationships with potential clients. 

Estate Plan Software Solutions for Financial Advisors

While modernized estate planning has many benefits, creating cross-generational revenue opportunities and increasing asset retention are two compelling advantages for advisory firms seeking exponential growth and relationships with future generations. Contact our team to learn how you and your clients can benefit from an all-inclusive estate planning solution through OneDigitalTrust.

Is your firm ready to incorporate cutting-edge, turn-key technologies into your financial planning process? Get started today, and register for your free Advisor Portal