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3 Rs to Prevent Elderly Financial Abuse: Red Flags, Relationships and Respect

Consider financial education comprehensively for National Financial Literacy Month

Recent lawsuits point to both the vulnerability of many older Americans to the scourge of online financial fraud and the opportunity that engaged financial services providers have to help thwart such pernicious crime.

Two such complaints are against a top 5 bank, which is accused of allowing two elderly women in California to lose more than $2 million to so-called “pig butchering scams.” Here, fraudsters posed as IRS agents to win the victims’ trust and trick them into multiple fraudulent transactions facilitated by the bank.

In another case, a top bank and credit union are accused of making 75 international transfers—74 of them alone through the credit union—by a retired naval officer totaling about $3.6 million. Unfortunately, many transfers were made even after concerns were explicitly reported to adult protective services in the officer’s home county.

The AARP says an estimated $28.3 billion is lost to what it calls elderly financial exploitation (EFE) each year in this country. Some 72% is lost to people the victims know, such as friends and family.

The emotional toll includes embarrassment and anguish and so much more, including, as in the California cases mentioned above, a person losing not only her life’s savings but also her home. Financial services providers are on the frontline in detecting and preventing this criminality, which targets the growing elderly population.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and it can’t stop at teaching young children to save and spend their allowances wisely. We must consider financial education more holistically. So, what can a responsible, proactive bank, credit union, financial advisor, wealth manager or other financial services provider do?

Red Flags

First, make sure protocols to safeguard elderly clients are standard operating procedure. That begins with training staff to recognize red flags. Those can include unusual withdrawals or Not Sufficient Fund occurrences, newly added co-owners on accounts, or sudden investment decisions inconsistent with a client’s known objectives.

Indicators of the latter can include senior clients receiving excessive phone calls or visitors pushing dubious financial arrangements. Another indicator is a sudden change in beneficiaries and other terms in the consumer’s estate planning.

Relationship Building

Uncovering such situations requires an engaged relationship with the potential victims, combining a personal and digital touch. Financial services providers should initiate internal reviews and documentation when suspicion arises from unusual account activity. A best practice is assigning a dedicated team to investigate thoroughly. Potential steps include discussing concerns with the client privately, reviewing the legitimacy of transactions, and scrutinizing relationships with any new parties acting on the client’s behalf.

Again, that requires a trusted relationship with the member or customer and the determination to act. If your internal investigation uncovers likely malicious activity, cutting off access to the accounts and reporting your concerns to the appropriate authorities is imperative. State adult services, law enforcement and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau all have protocols for EFE cases. Become part of the solution.

Respecting Privacy While Protecting Everyone

We stress again that it takes an engaged relationship with the older adult and their family to be in a position to discover elderly financial exploitation. And, the digital capabilities of OneDigitalTrust’s platform are designed to undertake the heavy lifting for financial advisors to be aware of certain estate planning-related actions or events that imply potential financial elder abuse, like taking advantage of probable incapacitation or undue influence.

OneDigitalTrust empowers financial services clients to safely digitize and share estate documents, impact analysis, account information, and powers of attorney with a pre-approved network of family members and trusted advisors, such as financial planners.

We need to add that while vigilance is essential, you must balance privacy and client preferences against protecting them and your own institution’s interests and liability.

Indeed, there can be a fine line between doing too little and doing too much, between inaction and overstepping institutional authority. Digital services facilitate transparency and shared access to respect that shifting, evolving line and comfort zone for you and your clients.

Indeed, OneDigitalTrust can be a critical component of the seamless collaboration between clients, family members, financial advisors and other legal and medical professionals, which results in the best decisions regarding elderly welfare and assets.

This heightened visibility also reduces exploitation opportunities while honoring client desires for privacy and autonomy. The OneDigitalTrust platform brings elderly individuals’ entire advisory team into a secure, unified digital space where abnormalities or suspicious activities become readily apparent.

Elderly financial exploitation will always be with us, but proactive identification and coordinated interventions can curb its effect on your clients and your institution. Staff training, documented and followed escalation procedures, aggressive reporting of suspected crimes, and selective account freezes can disrupt fraudsters and protect your most valuable assets: the people who entrust you with their money, dignity and financial independence. Make relationship building, recognizing red flags and reporting elderly financial exploitation part of your National Financial Literacy Month celebrations in April.

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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Break the Habit: Digital Estate Planning as an Essential Tool and Differentiator

The time and complexities involved in providing estate planning have long made it an outlier as a service. Investment advisors and wealth managers at traditional credit unions, banks, insurers and other financial services providers have been relegated to the sidelines as they refer their clients, customers and members to attorneys, as is the typical practice.

That practice, however, is changing as financial services continue to rapidly evolve in the digital world. Your organization will no longer have to pass your consumers—as well as the income they can generate—on to lawyers, keeping you from deepening those relationships.

Virtual estate planning platforms have been hard at work, developing their digital muscles, eradicating the need for attorneys, and even in-person servicing if an individual chooses. Empower your firm to break the habit of making third-party referrals and to deepen the personal touch and value they build with their clients, helping those they serve to navigate their financial lives and plan their legacies more holistically.

A Hybrid Advisor-Client Experience

“A streamlined digital estate planning platform delivered as a hybrid advisor-client experience provides a unique opportunity for advisors to expand their service model, amplify relationship alpha, power retention, and create advisory pathways to the next generation of clients,” a new report from Javelin Advisory Services reads.

Titled “Digital Estate Planning: A New Frontier for RIAs,” the think tank’s report focuses on the power of digitizing the creation and storage of relatively simple but vitally important documents such as wills, revocable trusts, and medical directives. It cites OneDigitalTrust as a leader in creating that new nexus of advancing fintech innovation and growing advisor value, as shown in the illustration below.

Javelin Research found OneDigitalTrust to provide advisors innovation and value.

The Relationship Alpha for The Next Aging Generation

Millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation in the United States. Those 20-somethings to 40-somethings are digital natives. They’re accustomed to living online – including working, shopping, learning, and banking – but they’re still real, live human beings, naturally, who can benefit from professional guidance and advice through their journeys.

Along with traditional matters such as raising families, forging and maintaining careers, caring for aging relatives, and the vicissitudes of aging, they also find themselves with their own unique set of stressors, as the Javelin report astutely illustrates in this figure below.

Platforms like OneDigitalTrust help to calm financial services providers clients' anxiety, Javelin found.

The “Demographics” section in the above figure includes “increased personal wealth,” among other factors that present an opportunity to RIAs and other financial services providers who can most seamlessly and effectively combine high-tech and high touch for this cohort of adult Americans.

As the report observes, all these factors imply that scaled delivery of personalized solutions points to demand for an enhanced user experience. Digital estate planning combined with direct conversations with clients about this particularly weighty topic helps cement that relationship with the client and potentially with the other stakeholders in the next generation, especially if they, too, join the discussions.

Ultimately, it’s about the effectiveness of advisor-client communication, a significant currency that makes financial advisors more than order-takers in a digital world of cookie-cutter, low- or no-cost options. That’s not a recipe for long-term success.

“The legacy [estate-planning] conversation is emotional, often covering philanthropic and generational aspirations,” the Javelin report observes. It points to this empowering feature in our platform: “OneDigitalTrust, for example, creates a client area where notes can be appended to the system, allowing the client to memorialize and express those aspirations and sentiments for advisors, kids and other beneficiaries.”

Differentiation and Commoditization

That vital communication feature – among others – helps OneDigitalTrust continue to push out the leading edge of humanizing digital estate planning and, most critically, the ability for advisors to differentiate themselves in the uber-competitive fintech world.

OneDigitalTrust, as the Javelin report observes, is also out front with integrating personal financial data into its platforms. That gives financial services providers the ability to wade through multi-party, multi-platform morass to add even more value.

Financial services providers are keenly aware of the commoditization of their products and services and the need to differentiate. A robust foundation for that is personal service that uses digital products to help leverage meaningful conversations around the unique access financial planners have to their clients’ assets.

That conversation should include how to distribute those assets when the time comes without sending that part of the business elsewhere. “Advisors must consider expanding their business model by leveraging digital estate planning solutions,” the Javelin report concludes. “New channels of dialogue are opened with beneficiaries and family members who can become clients and advocate for the advisor’s expertise.”

And that helps the advisor and their employer build their value and legacy.

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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Digital Estate Planning Empowers Your Customers to Avoid These 3 Mistakes

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.

Contact us today to learn more!

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Estate Planning Finds Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurship in Rocky Mehta

Sadly, most Americans have not done their estate planning or have let it get out of date.

That is part of the impetus for CEO Sonny Kapoor and co-founder Rocky Mehta to found OneDigitalTrust, a pioneering digital estate planning service, to help spare families during their darkest time, the complex and costly work of dealing with the estate of a loved one who died without a legally valid estate plan in place.

Recognizing an untapped opportunity to address the needs of the underserved and mass affluent, Kapoor and Mehta determined to follow their personal mission to build a platform that stands out in the competitive landscape by solving real-world problems.

Mehta sat down with co-founder of The Credit Union Connection, Sarah Snell Cooke, to share insights into the company’s mission and B2B model to help them reach more people quickly.

Sarah Snell Cooke: What’s OneDigitalTrust’s founding story – where did you get the idea for this company?

Rocky Mehta: OneDigitalTrust’s founding story has been the culmination of two things: Our CEO Sonny Kapoor and I have been in the financial services consulting space for most of our careers, and we saw this as an untapped opportunity for a digital estate planning service to meet the needs of the underserved and mass affluent.

Second, my co-founder and I have first-hand experience with family members with special needs, and we’ve seen a massive uptick in younger generations needing extra support. We felt we could make a difference by helping Americans afford to protect their families and legacies with our offering.

SSC: What problem are you trying to solve?

RM: All Americans should have their end-of-life affairs in order. No one knows when the worst could happen to us, but death and taxes are unavoidable. For whatever reason – putting off a morbid necessity or thinking you don’t have enough assets to worry about or trying to avoid the high cost of an attorney to create an estate plan, Americans don’t plan their estates.

Depending on who does the survey, an astounding 65% to 70% of Americans don’t have estate plans in place, or if they do, it needs to be updated. Both scenarios can lead to stressful and expensive work thrust upon their survivors. That’s the problem we’re solving!

SSC: Tell me a bit about your background.

RM: I come from a technical engineering and computer science background, and I went to business school afterward, which allowed me to serve as a liaison between technology and business. That helps me work with all of our teams from technology, legal, operations and sales & marketing to enable us to run a successful business to serve our clients and, in turn, their members or customers.

SSC: How are you planning to reach all Americans?

RM: I mentioned our mission is to support Americans to protect their lives and legacies, but it can be incredibly difficult to reach each of them individually. This problem has proven rather obstinate as the needle has barely moved over the last decade, which is why we believe that delivering estate planning through institutions (versus the status quo) will be the turning point when this needle moves. From the start, we knew we needed to work with other trusted businesses to enhance their services to their customers and members. Our partners are in the financial wellness field and include credit unions, banks, financial advisors, insurance companies, and employee benefits providers. This business model helps us to reach everyone faster and ensure they complete this vital task to protect their legacies and not leave a mess behind for their heirs to resolve. That can be very painful and expensive, as we all know from celebrities who’ve passed on without proper estate planning, including the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and billionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes.

SSC: How are you different from your competitors?

RM: The good news is that there is competition, and in the last two years even more competitors have entered the business. That means more people recognize that not having an estate plan is a massive problem that must be solved.

There is room for several players in this emerging market to help solve this brewing crisis across America in their own ways.

We have many unique advantages. We are an enterprise-level solution, and we partner with institutions to provide them the flexibility to configure, brand and price the value-proposition as they see fit to best serve their mission, target audience of ideal members and customers, and style of how they want to serve. With 170M Americans lacking an estate plan, OneDigitalTrust offers a white-label, turnkey estate planning platform with wholesale pricing options tailored to the needs of individual credit unions, banks, financial advisors, insurance agencies and HR benefits companies.

The real-time analytics capabilities offer our partners insights to better understand customer needs and identify opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. OneDigitalTrust provides financial services providers and financial institutions measurable opportunities to better support and understand their customers and members’ needs. I could go on and on with the capabilities and benefits of our platform, such as the plain-language documents, affordability, and extreme value. Still, the best way to understand our platform is to request a demo to show how OneDigitalTrust can best help!

OneDigitalTrust fulfills a burgeoning need to ensure more Americans complete their estate planning and keep it updated. We will further document estate planning need-to-know information, OneDigitalTrust, and the founders’ personal mission and entrepreneurial journey, so please be sure to sign up for our newsletter in the footer of this page and follow us on LinkedIn!

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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

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From Pixels to Prosperity: How Financial Advisors Level Up With Estate Planning

How Financial Advisors Can Enhance Their Digital Footprint

Establishing a strong online presence is paramount for financial advisors seeking to expand their reach and grow their client base. Leveraging estate planning services can be a game-changer in boosting your digital footprint and attracting prospective clients. In this blog, we will explore how financial advisors can enhance their digital footprint by harnessing the power of estate planning to enhance their online visibility, credibility, and, ultimately, their business success.

1. Establish Expertise Through Valuable Content

Estate planning is a complex and critical aspect of financial advising, and clients are actively seeking knowledgeable professionals to guide them through the process. Create a content-rich blog on your website covering various estate planning topics, including wills, trusts, estate tax, and asset distribution. Offer valuable insights and practical advice to demonstrate your expertise and establish trust with your online audience.

2. Utilize Social Media to Engage and Educate

Social media platforms provide an excellent avenue for financial advisors to engage with potential clients and showcase their ability and excitement to offer estate planning services. Create compelling posts, infographics, and videos highlighting the importance of creating and maintaining a legally-valid estate plan and its long-term effect on their family’s financial security. Share success stories of clients who have benefited from your guidance, and encourage followers to ask questions or seek advice. Consistent and informative social media activity can significantly boost your online visibility and credibility.

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3. Craft a Well-Designed Website

A professional, user-friendly website is your virtual storefront and a crucial element of your digital footprint. Ensure your website is visually appealing and provides comprehensive information about your estate planning services. Optimize the site for search engines, making it easier for potential clients to find you when searching for estate planning advice. Incorporate clear calls to action, encouraging visitors to contact you for further assistance.

4. Harness the Power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a fundamental aspect of increasing your digital footprint. Optimize your website and content with relevant keywords related to estate planning. Conduct keyword research to understand what your target audience is searching for, and tailor your content accordingly. You can attract more organic traffic and potential clients to your website by ranking higher in search engine results.

5. Showcase Testimonials and Client Reviews

Testimonials and client reviews can significantly impact your online reputation and trustworthiness. Encourage satisfied clients to share their experiences on your website or reputable review platforms. Positive feedback from real clients adds authenticity to your service offerings, encouraging others to seek your guidance.

6. Host Webinars and Virtual Events

Host webinars and virtual events around your firm’s service offerings while highlighting your newly augmented estate planning services to increase your digital footprint. Invite industry experts and professionals to join these events, providing valuable insights and fostering community among attendees. Webinars can serve as an opportunity to showcase your expertise while attracting potential clients interested in estate planning solutions.

7. Collaborate with Influencers and Partners

Partnering with influencers or industry experts in related fields can widen your digital reach and introduce your estate planning services to new audiences. Look for opportunities to contribute guest posts to reputable financial and estate planning publications. Seek partnerships with companies that provide estate planning software that allows you to provide your clients with the best estate planning solution and minimize risk. Engaging in strategic collaborations to provide comprehensive, all-digital estate planning capabilities can enhance credibility and establish your firm as a go-to resource for estate planning expertise.

How Financial Advisors Can Enhance Their Digital Footprint – Conclusion 

Incorporating estate planning services into your digital strategy is an exciting move for financial advisors seeking to increase their online presence and expand their client base. By sharing valuable content, utilizing social media, optimizing your website, and building a strong online reputation, you can leverage estate planning to grow your digital footprint and elevate your financial advisory firm to new heights of success. Embrace the digital landscape, and watch as your estate planning services pave the way for lasting growth and client trust. Want to learn more about how you can effortlessly incorporate estate planning into your service offerings? Contact us today! 

Looking for more ways to solidify client relationships, increase revenue streams, and establish yourself as an essential part of your client’s financial future? Download our free guide! 

Financial Advisor Marketing Guide

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Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors: 5 Ways to Build Credibility

Digital marketing for financial advisors continues to be one of the most effective ways to attract, engage, and retain clients. Digital channels such as websites, social media, mobile apps, email, and search engines provide financial advisors with a wealth of opportunities to reach a wider audience, build credibility with clients, and establish themselves as reputable choices in the financial industry. This article will review six digital marketing techniques for advisory firms to increase awareness and drive more revenue.

 

1. Website Optimization

Your website is your brand’s digital face and is often the first point of contact clients will experience. Building a strong online presence is the foundation of a successful digital marketing strategy. Like any good site, yours should be visually appealing, easily navigable, and mobile-friendly. In addition to showcasing your expertise, highlighting qualifications, and promoting service offerings, consider content and functionality that provides added value.

Four ways to provide value:

  • Client testimonials: No recommendation is more powerful than a testimonial from a satisfied client. Feature testimonials on your website using written or video format.
  • Explanation of terminology: Common terms used in the financial space may be unfamiliar to your clients or website visitors. A brief glossary of words they are likely to encounter can help bridge the gap between advisor and client.
  • Easy contact form/chat: Make it easy for potential customers to contact you via a secure online contact form or live chat option with rapid response.
  • Educational articles/content: Showcase your expertise by offering educational content relevant to your client’s financial situation and goals.

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2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content.” It is a powerful tool for establishing authority as an expert in the field, promoting awareness of your firm, and attracting potential clients. Promote content across multiple platforms and channels, including your website, social media, and email. The key to successful content marketing is to create compelling and informative content that addresses questions while offering practical financial advice. Reach a broader audience with content marketing, and position yourself and your firm as a trusted resource. 

 Examples:

  • Blog content: Blog posts are a great way to share educational content and promote your firm. Don’t forget to share your newly written blog on social media to expand your reach. 
  • Off-page Articles: Have you written content for peer sites or publications? This, too, is premium content to promote on your digital networks.
  • Videos: Sometimes, video is the most direct way to convey a message. Utilize video for announcements, education, and instructional content. 
  • Infographics: Infographics convey information visually that most people can easily understand. 

3. Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is optimizing your website to increase online visibility for local and national search results. With 46% of Google queries allocated to finding a local business, SEO optimization is vital. 

When assigning rank, Google SERPs factors four types of SEO – On-page, Off-page, Local, and Technical SEO. Each plays a significant role in increasing online visibility, driving traffic, and creating a user-friendly experience. With the ultimate goal of attracting visitors and securing more clients, SEO is a key component of digital marketing and getting found online.

4. Identify and Promote Your Unique Value

Competition amongst financial advisors is fierce. To position your company as a top contender, you must identify and promote what sets your firm apart from others – are you a longstanding company, J.D. Power award winner, or do you provide your clients with modernized service offerings? For example, firms that leverage estate planning software to empower their clients to create and maintain their end-of-life documents demonstrate value while exceeding expectations and showcasing a commitment to connecting with the next generation and their digital preferences. 

Highlight these benefits on your website, in your content marketing, and on social media platforms so potential clients will identify your firm with the advantages that come with it. 

 

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to connect with audiences, nurture relationships, and generate awareness about a product or service. Email marketing platforms, like Constant Contact and MailChimp, enable users to measure the effectiveness of each campaign by tracking common email KPIs, including delivery, bounce, unsubscribe, and click-through rates. Using this data, your firm can improve its email marketing strategy to provide recipients with well-crafted, expertly timed, educational, and engaging content.

Email Marketing Examples:

  • Newsletters: Share insights and forecasts with clients and potential clients.
  • Announcement emails: Are you hosting or appearing at an upcoming event? Excited to share the news about your new employees? 
  • Product features/services updates: Keep your subscribers up-to-date on your products and services or highlight special features.
  • Quizzes and surveys: What better way to get to know your clients and the best ways to serve them than with an interactive quiz or survey?
  • Industry updates: Share important “right now” news and information about the financial sector and how it affects you and your clients. 

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors

Digital marketing is a powerful tool for financial advisors looking to attract new clients, build credibility, and establish themselves as a reputable source in the financial industry. Establishing a strong online presence with a user-friendly website, valuable content, and a modernized service stack will afford financial advisors the online visibility they need to increase leads and generate more revenue for their firm. If you’d like to learn more about growing your client base, contact our team today

Looking for more ways to solidify client relationships, increase revenue streams, and establish yourself as an essential part of your client’s financial future? Download our free guide! 

Financial Advisor Marketing Guide