“While a lot of people wait to get sick before thinking about estate planning, most clients who come to our educational events don’t want to wait,” CSI Financial Group CEO and Founder- Carter Wilcoxson says. “Our demographic consists mainly of people aged 60 years old and above. They want to have their proactive plan in place, they just don’t know where to go or where to start.”
The importance of combining estate and financial planning
Most people are interested in estate and financial planning but keep putting it off because they don’t know where to go for help. Conventional wisdom tells them, “Oh, I’ve got to see this attorney,” or “I’ve got to do it on LegalZoom but I’m not very computer savvy.” This leads people to give up on putting their affairs in order before they’ve even started. Then, in the unfortunate situation where someone falls sick, becomes incapacitated, or death occurs, estate planning becomes a crisis. Being sick is tough enough without also having to worry about finding a specialist to help you plan your estate in an emergency.
After working in financial services for almost two decades, Carter met two people who helped him realize there was a gap in the market. “Scott Garcia, a long-time associate and also now a mentor for our Advisor Partner Platform, recognized estate planning as a foundational approach to helping his financial services clients,” Carter says. “That discovery sent me down a path which eventually led me to Gary Loftsgard, CEO and Founder of Integrated Trust Systems. Once I learned about Gary’s client-centric platform, I realized he had been the best-kept secret in the estate-planning field for over 35 years.” Carter says thankfully.
Carter was inspired so much by learning from both Gary and Scott’s combined disciplines working with their clients, that he then launched the Advisor Partner Platform powered by eStatePlan™ as an extension and cornerstone of his company, CSI Financial Group. He knew he could satisfy the demand for estate planning services through his network of advisors. He built onto Gary’s user-friendly “V4/digitized” estate planning platform (Est. March, 2011), with a focus on bringing ease of use to both advisors and their clients. Through blending the innovative ideas from Scott and Gary, Carter created a comprehensive approach to estate and financial planning, and the eStatePlan TM Portfolio was born.
Carter drew from his experiences working with both end-user clients and independent financial advisors to build streamlined estate and financial planning services. “Thanks to my time in the industry, I knew what was missing and lacking,” he explains.
Once Carter realized the value of providing digital estate planning as a foundation of client services, he quickly connected the dots and developed a system to help financial advisors help their clients. By helping existing clients, his advisors could also acquire more clients. “I created this track for our advisors to run on,” Carter says. “All the advisor has to do is decide to run.”
A multidisciplinary approach
Most people want to be in complete control of their estate and financial plans but also appreciate having access to financial and legal experts. When it comes to the legal side of things, the average person thinks about where to find digital legal services, they automatically turn to LegalZoom. “LegalZoom laid a lot of the groundwork that we needed, but the problem is it doesn’t have connectivity to the specialists needed to put everything in place,” Carter explains. With no support from a network of specialists, self-help platforms like LegalZoom could easily leave a client feeling helpless and frustrated. Any motivated client who finds themselves in this situation could easily revert to putting off their estate planning needs.
The eStatePlan™ uses a multidisciplinary team approach, with an advisor quarterbacking a team whose players all have a vested interest in their success. Alternatives to eStatePlan’s services for a client would be going to an estate planning workshop or meeting with an attorney, both of which have inherent costs. Normally, clients can’t even reach the first step of getting the education to understand why estate planning is important because these services aren’t freely offered in most cases.
There are alternative services available out there, like LegalZoom, but eStatePlan™ built on that idea to create a multidisciplinary team approach. With eStatePlan™, you no longer have to rely on just one attorney in your area. “We have a network of attorneys who are an integral part of the overall team,” Carter says. “And we can serve clients all over the country, 24/7 and 365 days a year.”
Plan for the future now
Over the last three years, Carter and his team have realized a lot of people only start planning their estate when they suddenly fall sick or find themselves in unfavorable conditions. This is not because they can’t be bothered to put their affairs in order but because they lack resources and access to specialists. “We discovered these clients have always wanted to be able to get this done way before they get sick,” Carter emphasizes. “The issue was that they didn’t know where to turn to, other than your traditional estate planning law firm, to get their affairs taken care of.”
With eStatePlan™, lack of resources and lack of access to specialists are not obstacles any longer because Carter has a team of experts in various fields, all under one roof. Carter and his team have done their best to make estate planning as hassle-free as possible. With eStatePlan™ on their side, clients don’t have to waste time going to different sources for different services.
A reliable network of fiduciary trustees
The eStatePlan™ has a huge differentiator, in that, we’ve partnered with an outside-the-box network of corporate trustees that handles all the execution of the estate planning and distributions. Each end-user client is a trustee in this Revocable Living Trust. “Revocable” means an end-user client can change and modify, or even absolve, the trust.”
Many clients don’t understand exactly what happens once they’re gone. “We clear that uncertainty by bringing to the table a fiduciarily responsible corporate trustee who helps the client to do all their planning proactively,” Carter elaborates. “When the inevitable happens, the client can have their plans administered fiduciarily on the back end.” With the eStatePlan™ Portfolio, Carter endeavors to deliver peace of mind to all his clients.
Digital legal services beyond coronavirus
The eStatePlan™ fits perfectly with the digital transformation that we’re all living through now. Carter and his team have embraced this transformation from the beginning. Whether it’s a live client educational event or a virtual event, our platform and processes are committed to giving the end-user the option to participate in whatever way they prefer. “All our educational events are virtual in the current environment, but we were serving advisors and their clients virtually even before the coronavirus struck,” Carter explains. “Most of our team is spread throughout the country and we can provide services for anybody anywhere in the United States.”
Carter is confident that eStatePlan has a bright and wonderful future. “We discovered advisors needed a new way to help their clients,” Carter says. “What we didn’t originally realize is that clients needed those advisors just as much because clients were convinced there was only one way to get things done…directly through an estate planning attorney.”
Estate planning barriers are thought to be daunting even before you start, and the assumed complexity can be a good excuse to put off dealing with it for as long as possible. Once you find the right resources and the right people to help you, you’ll realize it’s not as complicated as it seems. Estate planning is simply planning your estate, and your estate is simply everything you own. The future is bright because there is now software that puts you – the end-user client – in total and complete control of your future, now and forever.