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Mourning Has Multidimensional Costs – How Effective Estate Planning Can Ease Some of the Stress

Effective estate planning is crucial to the people your bank, credit union, financial advisory or other financial services company serves, whether they have come completely to grips with that reality or not. Having the right plans in place helps reduce the burden that loved ones bear in settling an estate and can significantly reduce the painful wait for it to settle.

The grief that mourners are left dealing with only makes the burden heavier. The costs can add up, and they involve more than just money. For instance, a study by the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health found that people in that state were 1.5 times more likely to visit a doctor 20 or more times in the two-year period after the death of a loved one. Even more striking, those over age 50 were more than twice as likely to die during bereavement.

The researchers cited depression and stress from the bereavement itself – the effects of which can include reverting to bad habits such as smoking, drinking and ignoring medical conditions. All that can add up to missed work, adding to the physical and material costs associated with the bereaved’s own health and paying the bills the deceased left behind.

Working-Aged People Bear the Burden

Wherever they live, the psychological and physical burden is most keenly felt by working-age people, those most likely to be part of the sandwich generation – responsible for caring for children and parents alike.

Employers can help. While there’s no federal bereavement leave policy, some states have them, and so do about 90% of U.S. companies, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

But that time off is very limited, and one of the potentially biggest stresses, dealing with the liabilities and assets of the deceased’s estate can take months, not just a few days following a funeral. That time and uncertainty just add to the stress that, as we alluded to above, can take years off a person’s life.

That’s also one area where you can really step up as a holistic provider of financial services. A great first step is to offer streamlined, digital online estate planning platforms that are easy to use, simple but powerful, and complete. OneDigitalTrust is just that, as featured in new Javelin research. We provide single sign-on access to create legally valid wills, trusts, power of attorney, healthcare directives, guardianships, probate trackers and more, even a pet trust. It’s not just legal documents but we also offer estate analysis and optimization tools, plus hyper-personalized info to understand the implications of key aspects of the plan. These are all features that democratize capabilities previously available to the ultra-rich only. And, we provide a virtual vault for organizing all this, along with strategic guidance throughout your journey.

Cross-sell Effective Estate Planning Across Generations

Banks, credit unions, financial advisors, insurance agencies, benefits providers, and more can offer an easy-to-understand, effective estate planning process to help your organization attract and retain customers and members. Banks and credit unions that also have in-house advisors and insurers can use our platform as an opportunity to upsell your other services. That creates the opportunity for fee income while engaging with the consumers you serve in a highly valuable, personal and meaningful way. Our powerful platform also provides your organization with rich financial data on your members and customers so you can understand and better serve them. That’s a powerful cross-sell for you and a small cost many an aging baby boomer, Gen Xer, and even younger generations might happily bear when presented with the opportunity.

170M Americans need an estate plan. OneDigitalTrust offers a white-label, turnkey estate planning platform with pricing options tailored to the needs of banks, credit unions, financial advisors, wealth managers, insurance firms, employee benefit providers and more.

Contact us today to learn more!

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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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How Estate Planning Can Help Institutions Win the Loyalty of Customers & Employees

Deliver more for your customers and employees

Estate planning is an essential part of planning for the future, though many people fail to plan for this eventuality. As bank, credit union or other financial services provider, helping your customers/members and employees create an estate plan isn’t just a perk; it says that you care about them and their family. It’s a simple way to show them that you care about their personal and family wellness.
While estate planning options are not mandated, it is important for you to offer it to your customers and employees. It’s about wanting to go above and beyond and provide that extra service. In reality, estate planning is essential, because the unintended consequences of not having any plan can be rather painful.

Offering estate planning is good for them and you

Build Trust With Your Clients

By offering estate planning, you can build upon the trust you already have with your customers and employees. On one hand, offering an added benefit of estate planning solutions is a natural fit with clients who already trust you with one part of their life’s planning. If someone has already converted to a customer and trusts you with one item, it’s much easier to provide another complementary service.
On the other hand, offering this added benefit like legacy and estate planning is a simple way to establish even more trust. Customers subconsciously understand that you have a comprehensive focus, and care about the holistic picture of someone’s financial life, not just the bottom line. It also shows that you truly care about them and the future of their family even when they are gone.

Improve Customer/Member Service

Estate planning is an added benefit and a way to augment the high-caliber customer service you already offer your clients. It’s a natural extension that gives your clients that extra feeling that you care and are looking out for their best interest, while delivering an experience they would get nowhere else.

Increase Long-Term Financial Wellness

Estate planning isn’t just about designating where wealth goes, but improving the long-term wellness of the family. When customers are gone, an estate plan designates where their wealth goes, making the process of dealing with a loved one’s death easier and less stressful. When a person does not have an estate plan, this can cause confusion and indecision (and the laws of the state (probate court) will take control and decide who gets what), further upsetting an already grieving family. When you offer estate planning as an institution, it shows that you truly care about your customers and employees as actual people with lives and families outside of the company.

Stem Attrition

Employees want more out of work than just a paycheck. They are looking for organizations that share the same values as them and care about them as people, not just as warm bodies filling a position. By offering benefits such as estate planning, you show that you care about your employees as people and that you hold the same values as them, like the importance of family. This can also lead to increased employee loyalty, which can stem attrition and instead, improve employee retention.

Expand Your Services

You are already helping your client plan for things like retirement and asset strategy. Estate planning is an integral part of the financial planning conversation and an extension of your services. You are already having these types of conversations with your clients, so incorporating estate planning is a natural fit. Naturally, your customers will look to you for the trusted choice in building their estate plan, and we know that OneDigitalTrust is a simple way to offer a solution they will trust.

Prioritize Relationships Over Transactions

We’ve touched on this throughout this article, but finally, offering estate planning to your clients and employees brings a relational side to your business. Estate planning isn’t about your bottom line; it’s about the human lives of the people who do the planning and their loved ones. It allows you to move past the business side of your interactions with customers and employees and create deeper, trusting relationships that build loyalty.

At OneDigitalTrust, we have reinvented personal legacy and estate planning, helping users create and maintain their plan through all life states and events, and helping advisors and institutions provide an even better customer experience. Life moves too fast for old-school estate planning approaches. Get your customers and employees an “always on” capability right in their pocket. Trust us, they will thank you for it!