Evolution in Trusts and Estates Practice: Navigating Tomorrow's Landscape

Evolution in Trusts and Estates Practice: Navigating Tomorrow's Landscape

The Estateably Team
December 13, 2023

Concerned with preserving clients’ legacies for future generations, trust and estates management is forward-focused by its very nature. But what about your own professional future? The trust and estates landscape is evolving, and it’s crucial to look ahead and embrace change in order to prepare your practice for tomorrow.

In this blog post, we’ll examine the factors reshaping traditional practices, the client expectations driving this evolution, and how technology can help you navigate new waters to steer the ship of trust and estate management into the future.

How the Trust and Estates Landscape is Evolving

The world is changing, with several developments nudging trust and estates practice into a brave new world. Here’s what lies behind that evolution:

Changing Legal Frameworks

Trust and estates administration is a complex process at the best of times, and shifting regulations make it even more difficult to ensure compliance. In Canada, for example, new trust reporting rules are coming into effect for the 2023 tax year. It’s important to monitor changes in legal, financial and tax laws at state and federal level, and to be proactive about preparing for the future.

The Rise in Digital Assets

A trust or estate can hold many different types of assets, from real-estate property to investment portfolios. Increasingly, digital assets are also part of the mix. A recent survey by the Ontario Securities Commission found that 13 percent of Canadians own crypto assets or crypto funds. This new asset class can be volatile, making it complicated to manage, and then there’s the question of passwords. Since cryptocurrency is held in a virtual wallet, beneficiaries will need secure access to the key in order to unlock their inheritance.

Dynamic and Diverse Family Structures

Two children and a dog? Thanks to global mobility and changing social attitudes, family structures have evolved far beyond the traditional nuclear setup. These days, a family might be geographically spread out across multiple countries or continents. Or, the family unit might embrace non-traditional arrangements that add complexity to the administration process, like blended families with a mix of children and step-children from different marriages.

Modern Client Expectations

Trust and estate management is changing in step with client expectations with demand for transparency and streamlined services at the forefront.

In the information age, clients are used to having data at their fingertips, and won’t settle for anything less than transparency. Professionals must respond to a demand for real-time updates, comprehensive insights into asset management strategies, and a platform to voice concerns or influence decisions.

At the same time, fast, efficient and digital-first services are becoming the norm in every industry. You can book a doctor’s appointment with a few taps, so why should they put up with slow processes and cumbersome paperwork when it comes to estate administration?

The Emergence of New Technology as a Game-Changer

As client expectations and social forces drive the pace of change, new technology can help trust and estate professionals build the practice of the future.

Digital tools and cloud-based accounting systems are revolutionizing client relationships. Offering features such as real-time portfolio viewing, alerts on asset performance, digital meetings and secure document sharing, software is key to building transparency.

Legal and accounting software also streamlines traditional processes, replacing time-consuming data entry with automated form filling and document generation. These tools not only facilitate more efficient operations, but also eliminate the risk of human error.

Finally, systems that integrate technology with legal frameworks help professionals keep pace with changing regulations. These new platforms have compliance built in, with a library of court-approved document templates. Based in the cloud, the software can be automatically updated to reflect any changes in the law.

The Secret to Business Success

The trick to staying relevant in a changing world? It’s all about having an adaptable mindset: embracing change, proactively tackling legal changes, and hopping on board with new strategies for client management.

As trust and estates administration continues to evolve, the most effective strategy is to be attuned and prepared. This involves not just adhering to current best practices but also anticipating future shifts. Continuous training and education play a part, and industry networking will help you stay abreast of the trends. It’s also important to take a can-do approach to emerging technology, and to learn about and experiment with new systems.

Look to the Future with Estateably

As we’ve seen, technology plays a key part in future-proofing your practice, and Estateably is right at the forefront. With tools including document automation, report generation, and powerful accounting systems, Estateably’s digital solutions facilitate transparency and efficiency to meet the demands of today’s clients.

Get in touch with our team to find out more about our cloud-based platform and how it can modernize your practice for the digital age.

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