Given that the majority of Americans lack a will or any proper estate planning, it's important that everyone has a plan for their future.
Estate planning software helps put the power of building an estate into the hands of more people. But without any guidance, the tools won't reach their potential. Without an explanation that the average American can understand, they'll miss out on the full benefits of this kind of tool.
Here is what you need to do to explain this software to your clients.
Understand Your Responsibilities
Attorneys who offer estate planning services might angle for the biggest fish in the pond to get the largest commissions possible. However, it's important to offer these services to everyone who comes through your door. Relying on just the wealthiest people in your area to keep you afloat isn't a very strong business practice.
Just about anyone can understand the benefits of an estate plan and most reasonable people will seek out these practices to keep wealth in the family. The average person has reasons beyond just wealth for estate planning.
When someone becomes sick or elderly and impaired, they might not have time to put together a plan to help with guardianship for children under 18. They might not have a plan to ensure that older children are provided for by the wealth that they currently own. It's easy to see just how valuable this can be.
Estate plans help to manage the tax and litigation that can happen after someone passes away and leaves things to heirs. This also gives the estate owner peace of mind by knowing that people won't be fighting over their estate after they've passed.
For business owners, it's important to leave things in the right hands and to know that everyone who matters is cared for. All stakeholders, family members, and partners deserve to have knowledge of their standing after their loved one passes on.
Clear Ups and Misunderstandings
When trying to decide what's best for their family, most people don't know whether a trust or a will is a better plan. The fact is that most people don't know the differences between the two and choose the one that they understand better. Rather than leave them in the dark, you can win the trust of many new clients by helping them to understand.
Attorneys are tasked to laying out the costs and benefits of each type of setup. Part of what attorneys have to do is to listen to what a client's main concerns are and how they'll be impacted by each.
While the basics of each are clear to any attorney working in the field, that's not the case for most people. They might have more questions than you expect and it's your duty to make sure they're clear before moving forward.
The whole process needs to be demystified before any of your clients start using an estate planning tool. Starting to use one of these tools incorrectly could end up having dire consequences. They might set up something that they didn't intend to.
Help them understand wills, trusts, and estates practice before they make any major decisions about their future.
Drafting Without a Lawyer
Letting your clients know that they can draft some documents without the help of a lawyer can be an enticing prospect. The costs of hiring lawyers can be out of reach for so many people that it's empowering to take it into your own hands. The right resource to help them out should help to hold their hand along the way.
The tool you have them use should have clear instructions that explain what each document does. If they have questions, they should be able to drill down further to see more about the document.
You or the software should be able to let them know what their options are. The more they know about what types of wills and trusts can be set up, the better they'll feel about their decision.
Some situations warrant the help of an attorney. If they need to talk to you directly before making a decision or submitting a change, the tool should make them aware. It should also help them finalize the documents so that they're legal and binding.
Finding tools to help explain the software should be easy. Make sure that you find tools that work for your demographic, whether they need something that connects to an app or something that is deeply detailed.
When it comes time to finish the process, someone will need access to all of the documents that are drafted. An attorney or executor will need to hold onto documents so that they can be verified and recalled after the estate holder dies.
It's important that every estate holder has a comprehensive list of all of the documents that are important to the estate. These documents include the basics of the will and trust, as well as any insurance policies or real estate deeds. These help to describe the value of everything the deceased had on hand and how it can get to heirs.
Certificates for any stocks and bonds need to be stored in the same location as the other pieces of the puzzle. There should be comprehensive information about bank accounts, mutual funds, and even any safe deposit boxes that the deceased held.
Estate planning software ensures that everything is in one place and that original documents can be stored somewhere safe, up on the cloud.
Estate Planning Software Shouldn't Feel Mysterious
When you're trying to get your clients to use estate planning software, you need to have patience. They're sure to have plenty of questions but it's your duty to make the whole process feel comfortable and understandable to them.
If you're still trying to understand what online estate planning is about, check out our guide for tips.