Changing tax laws. Shifting investment trends. Intergenerational conflicts, blended families and feuding siblings. If you’re an estate manager, balancing these concerns is all in a day’s work, and often requires you to vacillate between financial expert, project manager, and even referee. Your expertise and interpersonal skills are more valuable than ever, however, there are digital tools for estate managers that can help you more effectively tailor estate management and succession plans to the particular needs of your clients … and make your life a whole lot easier.
Educates Principals. Even the savviest of clients tend to focus on fluctuations in the market and other financial instruments, often to the exclusion of the assets right under their noses. All-in-one solutions give clients the ability to create a digital library of everything in their portfolio, from the things they use regularly (i.e. homes, automobiles and boats) to packed away inherited items they have forgotten about. Once they do the work of inventorying these items and assessing their value, clients can upload photos and provenance to the digital tools for estate managers for 24/7 access from any device. The best part is that they can give you access to the library as well, allowing for seamless, real-time discussions about these assets (for example, whether it’s a good time to sell your beachfront property or piece of artwork) without having to sort through piles of paperwork or various versions of Word documents or Excel sheets. And, since they can also schedule regular maintenance of those assets, everyone can rest assured that they are retaining (or increasing) value.
Educates Heirs. The challenges of the successful transfer of wealth is nothing new. Tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie is often credited with the saying “…from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,” which he made in 1886, but it’s actually older than that. It’s not an American phenomenon either – variations are used by cultures around the world to describe the catastrophic loss of wealth – even amongst great families like the Vanderbilts and Pulitzers. And, according to this article about the longevity of family businesses, the threat is alive and well. An all-in-one solution is one more measure you can take to help your clients avoid falling prey to these statistics. Sometimes, children are not interested in following in their parents’ footsteps, others simply lack the requisite skills to manage wealth. By giving their heirs access to financial information and decision-making processes, principles can instill confidence in them and prepare them for the day they will bear responsibility for the family’s portfolio.
Improves Relationships: As mentioned above, another major hurdle to successful estate management is the interaction among family members. Every childhood slight, every philosophical difference can become exacerbated when money is involved. Moreover, principles’ decisions may be negatively affected by these dynamics; for example, to avoid conflict, they may not give control of their business to the child considered to be the “favorite,” even though he/she may be the most capable. Here is where a platform like EstateSpace can be most valuable. The messaging feature creates a communications hub that allows stakeholders to share information in real-time. No more bouncing back and forth between text and email threads, just one transparent conversation in one secure space. This is no guarantee that everyone will be happy all of the time, but at least they will feel like they have a seat at the table.
Though your goals for each client will undoubtedly evolve over time and due to changing circumstances; empowering them to take greater ownership of their finances should always be top of mind. In this regard, all-in-one solutions are a game-changer, helping them to better utilize your expertise while becoming more knowledgeable and hopefully strengthening their relationships with their loved ones.