Modern Executor in a Fax Machine World
Imagine that it’s 2019 and you are buying a house. Real estate has been around for a long time now. People buy homes every day, and with the invention of the internet, the private sector has created a lot of cool tools to facilitate the purchase process. For example, your realtor can send everything via Docusign and within minutes you are under contract.
Now imagine instead of using a product like Docusign, your realtor sends your contract in PDF form and asks you to sign the contract and get it back to them. You have to print it out, sign it, scan it, and email it back. Frustrating, right?
Welcome to the estate planning world! It is living in the 1990s. The process is horribly inefficient, which is mind blowing to me considering the fact that people die every single day. I can’t tell you how many times I was told by the credit card companies or other debt collectors: “O I’m sorry, we don’t accept email. You will have to mail or fax it to us.” Fax it?! Luckily I was born before 1990 and actually know what a fax machine is. Do businesses other than credit card companies even have fax machines these days? Is this some conspiracy FEDEX has with the estate planning world to get our business? If your company still uses a fax machine I highly suggest you: 1. Don’t tell anyone 2. Donate it to a museum 3. Google “How to encrypt an email” as soon as possible. I can’t imagine you will be in business much longer if your only customer correspondence options are fax and mail.
The Estate Planning World Needs Better Technology
Since I was the sole beneficiary of my father’s estate, it was important to create my own Trust and Will now that his assets had been passed down to me. I didn’t have a will at that point in my life as I was unaware of the importance of a Last Will & Testament. I figured I would just use my father’s estate attorney since I was already in contact with him and he was well versed in my situation. At the time this was the best option available to me since I was in no headspace to look up alternative options, nor did I know the cost associated with using his services. It was only later when I received the itemized bill did I question this decision. I won’t discuss the final cost but with one line item stating “...quarter hour to review email: $390” one can imagine my jaw dropping reaction to this traditional estate planning avenue. If online platforms such as Trust&Will had been available to me at that time, let’s just say I could have been back in Mallorca climbing limestone cliffs, all expenses paid from the difference. Instead, my golden Trust and Will are sitting in a vault in Maryland and I am sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle looking at pictures of Chris Sharma deep water soloing on the internet.
I encountered a laundry list of inefficiencies over the year and a half I spent closing the estate. Creating my own Trust and Will, interacting with banks and creditors, and conducting the final accounting for the Commission of Accounts all presented opportunities for innovation. As baby boomers begin to pass away, millennials will require better technological solutions to manage their loved ones' estates and to start planning their own. A technology platform like Trust&Will is a great start. It enables estate planning from the comfort of home at an affordable price. We need more solutions like this one moving forward. We need secure platforms where we can digitally store all the important estate planning information, just like the infamous blue binder did before the invention of the internet. In my opinion, these platforms need to assist individuals and business owners in effectively managing their estate plans and they need to help executors file all the necessary accounting paperwork tailored to the specific guidelines outlined by their local judicial system.