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The Role of Technology in Modern Estate Planning

Leveraging estate planning technology allows financial planners to offer their customers a unique, digital experience and build better relationships.
Jennifer Gustavson
July 14, 2022
5 min

Estate planning doesn't need to be complicated, though the industry has wrestled with that perception for some time. It might explain why only one in three adults have set up a will or a living trust, according to a 2022 survey.

To fight the decades-old perception problem, financial and wealth management professionals can harness the power of technology to improve the estate planning process. Bringing the estate planning process entirely online makes it easier for estate planning professionals and their clients to manage contracts, sign and notarize documents online, and keep information secure.

What is estate planning technology? 

According to a survey from TD Wealth, about half of estate and financial planners use digital planning software, either offline or online. That number is growing, and the reasons are intuitive. People want the ease and convenience of an online experience. 

Online meetings

Estate planning professionals have responded to customer demand by rolling out virtual services like online video client meetings. While some financial institutions try to limit contact with investors, savvy planners are turning to video meetings to add a human touch to the customer experience, resulting in a better experience for the clients. 

Online notarization and witnessing

People have signed documents from their phones and tablets for a decade. What's new is the growth in usage of online notaries who fulfill sometimes-complicated legal requirements through a streamlined process that can be done from any smart device. 

Document management

Legal documents and transactions that are digitized can be more secure than paper documentation and allow for other parts of the document management process (such as sending, signing and notarizing) to be easily completed and stored. For example, by using an online notarization platform such as Notarize, you can ensure that you and your clients have an encrypted audit trail of signed and notarized documents and a recording of the transaction.

The benefits of estate planning technology

Estate planning technology can unlock a number of benefits for businesses, including:

Automates manual-based processes

Clients and advisers can save time and money using intuitive software to complete mundane tasks. 

Streamlines communication between estate planners and clients

Clients are better served by talking to an actual human being rather than dealing with a frustrating chatbot or an FAQ section that doesn't have any pertinent information.

Business can be conducted remotely and on mobile devices

Both advisers and clients benefit from mobile technology. Video conferences help clients avoid hassles associated with visiting a physical office; online meetings are more efficient for advisers.

Secures sensitive financial information 

Estate planning software and online notary services are a lockbox for clients' information. They also offer convenient remote access to the documents for years into the future, saving clients and advisers time if they need to hunt down information.

Creates a trusting relationship between clients and estate planners

People like dealing with human beings when entrusting them with their money. Online meetings and slick technology solutions project images of competency and caring that build trust.

Estate planning stays timely and useful

Estate planners must periodically ensure their clients are on track to meet their goals. Overlaid technology allows financial advisers to see when an estate plan needs to be updated.

Improved communication

Estate planning platforms can offer customized views of an estate plan, limiting information shared with heirs. Financial planners can then engage with heirs in discussions that align with their client's wants.

6 types of estate planning technology your business needs

Let’s take a look at some of the leading estate planning technology solutions that your business should consider leveraging amid shifting customer expectations:

1. Legal document preparation software 

This is a catch-all term encompassing anything from templates for legal documents to software that helps build legal documents.

2. Customer relationship software

A tool designed to help digital planning companies of all kinds offer their customers a unique experience and build better relationships. The software typically tracks all customer interactions as well as keeps track of schedules and needs

3. Tax calculation program

Calculates what taxes will be owed by beneficiaries of a will or living trust.

4. Visualization technology 

Provides impact and insight into choices being made during the estate planning process. Clients will gain a better understanding of what their assets will be and what things will look like for their beneficiaries.

5. Document vaults

Provides an organization with a secure digital filing cabinet for important organizational documentation.

6. Online notarization platform 

An efficient and reliable way to provide convenient notarization experiences and improve customer satisfaction.

How Notarize fits into your estate planning technology stack

Wealth management is changing. As customers increasingly seek online services, the industry is responding by turning to services like Notarize to provide seamless user experiences. Notarize is a trusted industry leader, pioneering online notarization and earning a reputation as the best online notarization service available.

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Jennifer Gustavson

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