No one can argue that today’s world is being shaped by technological advancements, and even the world’s most traditional customs are beginning to change. Consumers are demanding digital-first solutions, and companies are delivering them. The estate planning industry is famously traditional, as it revolves around paper-based documentation such as Wills and Trusts. However, the advent of eWills is creating a disruption. As eWills gain acceptance, they are also serving as a catalyst for the entire estate planning industry to hold the promise of modernization. Keep reading as Trust & Will explores the future prospects of estate planning with the evolving role of technology.
EWills as a Catalyst for Industry Transformation
EWills have revolutionized the way individuals can create and execute their Wills, thus disrupting the traditional method of estate planning and will likely drive further innovation.
Streamlining An Outdated Process
Traditional estate planning involves paperwork and time-consuming processes. For instance, a Testator (person creating a Will) may need to travel to an attorney’s office, hold numerous consultations, gather their witnesses to sign their documents, and make an appointment with a notary public. The process could take weeks if not months.
eWills have digitized this process, thus creating a more streamlined and seamless experience.
Online platforms and services such as Trust & Will now guide individuals through a series of questions and prompts to craft their Wills. Not only is this efficient and convenient, it is also guaranteed to be legally compliant in the states that recognize eWills. This digital innovation has not only reduced the time and effort required, but has also made estate planning accessible to a wider audience.
Holistically, eWills also help make what was once a complex process less overwhelming and more approachable. Ultimately, this is a positive change that further empowers individuals to take control of their financial legacies.
eWills Democratize Estate Planning
Another disruptive aspect of eWills is their potential to significantly reduce costs associated with estate planning. Traditional estate planning can be expensive. Attorney fees often vary, depending on the complexity of the estate and the number of consultations required. In contrast, eWills offered through online platforms often come at a fraction of the cost, making the service more affordable and attractive to individuals who might have previously hesitated to create a Will due to financial concerns.
This cost-effectiveness has democratized estate planning, enabling more people, regardless of their financial status, to protect their assets and ensure their loved ones are provided for after their passing.
Technology's Impact on Client Engagement and Access
New estate planning technologies have not only improved efficiency, but also transform how clients interact and engage with the process.
In the past, geographical limitations and physical barriers could hinder individuals from seeking professional estate planning assistance. With digital estate planning, individuals can access the necessary tools and resources from anywhere, so long as they have an internet connection. They can create and manage their eWills from the comfort of their own homes.
This inclusivity ensures that people in remote areas, individuals with mobility issues, and those with busy schedules can now engage in estate planning. This accessibility has the potential to reach a more diverse clientele and expand estate planning services to previously underserved populations. As internet access and digital literacy continue to improve, the reach and impact of eWills are likely to grow even further.
Next Phase of eWill Evolution: 5 Predictions
As technology continues to evolve so will eWills. Here are some predictions for advancements and trends in the coming years as technology progresses and user demands evolve:
Blockchain: Blockchain technology's decentralized nature holds the potential to advance the security and authenticity of eWills. By incorporating blockchain into the eWill creation process, it would be possible to create a transparent and tamper-resistant system for recording and validating wills. This would provide an additional layer of trust and security, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities and disputes over the validity of the Will. This will likely further encourage eWill acceptance amongst states that have yet to update their legislation to recognize eWills as legally valid.
Smart Contracts: Smart contracts are self-executing digital contracts with predefined terms and conditions. There is a potential to integrate them into eWills to automate the distribution of assets. By using smart contracts, the process of transferring assets to beneficiaries could be streamlined, reducing the need for extensive legal proceedings. Smart contracts could also help facilitate conditional distributions, enabling assets to be disbursed based on specific trigger events, ensuring greater precision in carrying out the Testator's wishes. For example, a Testator may include a provision that their child receives their inheritance, but not until they reach the age of 25. The child’s 25th birthday would serve as the trigger event set up in this specific smart contract.
Artificial Intelligence: As artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to advance, we can expect more sophisticated and personalized eWill solutions. AI algorithms could analyze an individual's assets, family dynamics, and unique circumstances to offer tailored estate planning recommendations. This could potentially help optimize estate planning strategies, such as the distribution of assets or tax planning, that consider multiple intersecting aspects of the testator's life.
International Support: As eWills gain acceptance globally, there will likely be a growing demand for multilingual and cross-border support. People with assets in multiple countries may seek eWill platforms that can accommodate legal requirements and variations in different jurisdictions. Providing comprehensive solutions that cater to various legal systems will be an essential trend in the eWill evolution, making the process more accessible to an international user base.
Digital Estate Planning: With the increasing presence of technology in our lives, digital estate planning is likely to become a critical aspect of eWills. Digital estate planning involves accounting for and managing online assets, including social media accounts, digital files, cryptocurrency, and other digital possessions. Future eWill platforms may offer features to address these digital assets, ensuring they are transferred or deleted according to the Testator's wishes.
Trust & Will: A Trailblazer in Shaping the Future of Estate Planning
Trust & Will is a trailblazer that shapes the future of the estate planning industry. (Check out our CEO and Co-Founder CEO Cody Barbo’s think piece on Forbes on the future of the industry.) It was behind the first-ever completed eWill in U.S. history and continues to make efforts to widen the acceptance of eWills across the nation.
Trust & Will is an online platform that empowers individuals to create their Wills, Trusts, and other estate planning documents easily. The platform’s user-friendly interface, educational resources, and clear guidance have made the estate planning process approachable for many.
Behind the platform is a team of individuals, including expert estate planning attorneys, that are passionate about increasing awareness, convenience, and access to estate planning to those who would have previously thought that they weren’t worthy of creating a legacy.
Trust & Will's dedication to security and compliance ensures that eWills created on their platform are legally valid and protected from potential tampering. As industry pioneers, they continue to set the standard for excellence in digital estate planning.
The acceptance of eWills is revolutionizing the estate planning industry, bringing greater accessibility, efficiency, and sustainability to the process. With technology continuing to advance, we can anticipate further innovations that will optimize eWills, making them even more secure, personalized, and user-friendly.
As companies like Trust & Will lead the way, the future of estate planning looks exciting. It promises a seamless, more inclusive experience for anyone looking to secure their legacy. Whether you identify as young or old, tech-savvy or not, beer or champagne budget, eWills are paving the way for a more digitally integrated and streamlined estate planning process, ushering in a new era for the industry.
Find out how you can create your own eWill through Trust & Will today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.