Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Technology—Probate - New Year, New Tech: Technology and Estate Planning

Estate planningBy this time of the year, our New Year’s resolutions may either be going strong or, more likely, have started to fade into a distant memory. Many professionals have vowed to embrace the mantra “work smarter, not harder” and find ways to become more efficient and prioritize tasks that move the needle. Achieving this goal can be easier said than done, but maximizing the use of both existing and new technologies is a great place to start. However, it’s crucial to find the ‘right’ technology tools, as the ‘wrong’ ones can make tasks take longer and create a more confusing process.

In the context of estate planning, utilizing the proper software tools can significantly streamline the process. For instance, estate document drafting software allows attorneys to save time, thereby freeing up more time for business development and client counseling. Comprehensive estate planning involves coordinating clients' assets and ensuring they pass on to the next generation in the most tax-efficient way. To educate clients effectively, attorneys may need to use various tools like flow charts, diagrams, and calculations. Automating these illustrations can help create efficiencies and consistency in client deliverables. Estate planning software like Vanilla®, eState Planner, and NaviPlan offer features such as net worth aggregation, liquidity analysis, and client information management to aid in this process.

Furthermore, estate planning software can assist in creating visual summaries and flow charts, making it easier for clients to understand their estate plans. Tools like Luminary, Vanilla®, and eState Planner provide dynamic visuals and customizable illustrations to depict clients' financial pictures and estate plans. Additionally, software such as Lucidchart and SmartDraw can help advisors create polished diagrams. There is a learning curve associated with these technologies, so it takes a while to learn but you save time later on. Despite some drawbacks and the need for thorough testing to find the best fit, leveraging these tools can ultimately save valuable time and enhance the efficiency of estate planning practices. As we aim to work smarter this year, investing time in selecting the right software will benefit both practitioners and their clients.

For more information see Ross Bruch and Margaret Weese "Technology—Probate - New Year, New Tech: Technology and Estate Planning" American Bar Association Probate & Property, May 8, 2024.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2024/05/technologyprobate-new-year-new-tech-technology-and-estate-planning.html

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