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How Trusts and Estates Can Be Managed Virtually

From online notarization to virtual consultations, the future of virtual trust and estate planning is here.
Jennifer Gustavson
April 4, 2022
4 min

While the pandemic has created many challenges for the wealth management sector, it has also ushered in several advancements and virtual tools to serve clients better. During this new normal, we've become used to completing nearly all our everyday tasks on our home computer, tablet, or smartphone  — and customers are increasingly seeking to manage their trust and estate planning virtually.

Thankfully, new regulations have made it easier for clients to manage their trusts, wills, and estates remotely. As these regulations and technological advancements continue to evolve, so do your options for better serving your clients. From online notarization to virtual consultations, here's how the future of trust and estate planning is being accomplished virtually. 

Document execution in the age of COVID-19

In the years before COVID-19, many states required the physical presence of two disinterested witnesses to execute a will. That quickly changed as the effects of the pandemic became clear, and these regulations have made virtual witnessing and notarization a new reality. With stay-at-home orders in early 2020, it became apparent that states would have to reevaluate their rules when it came to witnesses and notarization for document execution.

New legislation has made remote notarizations legal. Now clients or businesses can use online notarization to have their legal documents, wills, and estate-planning documents notarized online, day or night.

Not only do online tools like Notarize provide convenient, efficient ways for clients to conduct their document execution, they are also implementing new features and benefits. Business automation trends in wealth management, like the use of document preparation tools, are reducing signing time and errors by over 50%. Cloud-based hosting provides secure, user-friendly platforms for documents. And multi-factor ID verification and full audit trails ensure that clients feel confident in each transaction.

Virtual consultation services for wealth management firms

A personal touch can make all the difference for your clients, even remotely. Many wealth management firms offer access to virtual attorneys or certified financial planners via videoconferencing or over the phone. 

Now clients are no longer limited to choosing financial planning in their local area. Through these virtual consultation services, they can directly connect with expert financial professionals anywhere in the world for estate planning. 

While most wealth management websites now come equipped with chat-bots or robo-advisors, firms are seeing much greater success and an improved customer experience by giving their clients access to a dedicated remote team of knowledgeable financial support. For example, clients with especially complex estates rely on research-based portfolio recommendations as well as regular performance reviews from a virtual consultant.

And with electronic document execution now a reality, the entire process can be performed on your client's terms, from the comfort of their own home. 

Rebuilding trust and convenience with virtual services

New products, tools, and regulations are making it easier than ever for your clients to manage their trusts and estates virtually.These new services are improving the industry by building trust and satisfaction with clients. 

At the pandemic's start, many think-pieces predicted a dramatic downturn for wealth management firms. Wealth management was a sector that could only function in person, or so these theories supposed. But in fact, firms that were quick to adopt new technology and strategies to allow their clients to manage finances were generating more significant amounts of business and more satisfied customers.

Now, new virtual services allow firms to spend more time building rapport and trust with new clients. Online tools that provide transparency, educational services, and service-centric ideologies are helping to build strong relationships with new and existing clients. 

And with clients now able to contact their advisors and manage their estates through any medium they wish, convenience and satisfaction have never been higher. And financial institutions are reaping the benefit as well. For firms embracing video conferencing, they’re able to see more clients a day. And of course, this new technology does wonders for cutting down on travel time. Whereas face-to-face meetings with different clients in multiple countries would have previously taken weeks, firms can now contact each within a day. 

The future of virtual trust and estate planning

While the pandemic impacted wealth management firms in uniquely challenging ways, these last two years have seen incredible advancements in virtual technology. New tools and regulations have paved the way for online notarization, virtual consultation, and increased customer satisfaction. 

As the capabilities of virtual financial management continue to evolve, so too will your opportunities to better serve your clients in a more efficient way.

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Jennifer Gustavson

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