Estate planning is a task easily set aside amid the demands of daily life. But life will indeed end, and your customers should have a proper estate plan in place. Even when their assets are modest and require a simple will, it is crucial for every working adult who would like to ensure what happens to their family and their assets after they’re gone.
Only about one-third of all Americans have created a formal estate plan. For the two-thirds who do not have one, that’s a serious problem for them and their families. It is also an opportunity for financial services providers, like wealth managers, financial advisors, credit unions and banks to step up with solutions that combine digital ease and personal touch to make estate planning accessible and affordable for everyone.
Your trusted relationship as a financial services provider gives you the perfect segue to help your customers and members avoid some estate planning mistakes that can cause their loved ones stress, conflict, expenses and other headaches down the road.
Here are three mistakes you can help your customers/members avoid:
1. Not Having an Estate Plan
The biggest mistake – and most common – is doing nothing. About two-thirds of Americans do not have an estate plan, such as a will or trust. Without a legally valid estate plan, state intestacy laws require assets to be distributed by a probate court.
That costs time and money and heightens already frayed feelings. Family members and others with claims can tie things up over what others might consider surprisingly small amounts. Help your members and customers avoid that situation.
Also, not having a will can leave the court to decide about guardianship for minor children. A will or trust will establish the parents’ desires for who should continue caring for their children should they pass while the children are still minors.
2. Not Keeping Your Estate Plan Up-To-Date
Things happen. Customer and members’ life changes like marriage, divorce, new children and stepchildren, and changes in income and assets can change how a person wants their estate handled.
But wills are easy to set and forget, never revisited until it’s time for their execution. To ensure the plans are current, estate documents should be reviewed every couple of years or so and after significant life events.
A plan based on outdated wishes can lead to disputes between family members down the line. Offering estate planning documents that are easy to update will help keep your customers and members’ plans current and smooth out what could be a bumpy process.
3. Not Communicating the Estate Plan
Conversations about estates are always challenging, but they are ones we must encourage as responsible financial services providers. They are fraught with potential hard feelings about who gets what, of course, not to mention the difficulty of recognizing the eventual loss of a parent while both parent and child are very much alive. Not fun.
However, these conversations are essential for holistic financial wellness. Loved ones need to know what to do when that time comes. They should have access to critical documents and open conversations to avoid any confusion. That includes ensuring the documents remain up to date.
How Digital Estate Planning Can Create Winning Outcomes
As a trusted financial services provider, you can offer your customers and members digital estate planning solutions like OneDigitalTrust. We’ve built a robust platform that allows end users to create wills, trusts, power of attorney, healthcare directives and much more. Users truly appreciate the document tracking capabilities and digital vault for organizing the process and storing the documents.
Meanwhile, you are provided access to real-time, smart analytics to deepen relationships with customers and generate a new source of non-interest income. And because our platform is white labeled, you can offer it under your brand, and users know your organization is there to care for them and their families.
Many estate planning mistakes occur due to a lack of education and proper guidance, fear of acknowledging our human mortality, and consumers’ expectations of the cost of estate planning. OneDigitalTrust removes the lawyer from the equation, making creating legally valid estate planning documents much more affordable. We help you make it easy for the mass affluent to access compliant, responsible, plain-language estate planning. Integrating a trusted solution like OneDigitalTrust can help those who trust you achieve and maintain peace of mind around what can be such a sensitive and complicated subject, one all too easy to ignore otherwise.
170M Americans need an estate plan. OneDigitalTrust offers a white-label, turnkey estate planning platform with pricing options tailored to the needs of individual banks, credit unions, financial advisors, wealth managers, insurance companies, HR benefits providers and more.