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Will Artificial Intelligence Revolutionize Estate Planning? What Advisors Should Know


Estate planning attorneys and financial advisors be aware: Artificial intelligence, including tools such as ChatGPT, may have the ability to shake up legacy planning in a powerful way.

In fact, ChatGPT recently passed the bar exam, scoring high marks without working up a sweat. This capability spells a big shift on the horizon for lawyers and other professionals who work closely with the legal industry. For financial advisors, this could impact the estate planning process, which is typically handled in collaboration with estate planning attorneys.

Read on to understand the impact of AI within the realm of estate planning.

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How AI Can Assist Advisors With Estate Planning

Financial advisors often work closely with estate planning attorneys to ensure that clients have an estate plan in place. In the future, AI may be able to help advisors thoroughly understand and analyze each piece of relevant information a client shares. And it can make estate planning easier and less time-consuming for both advisors and their clients.

It may even prove to be a suitable alternative for clients looking to work with AI-assisted self-help documents. Using AI could be more cost-effective for folks who want to avoid working with estate-planning attorneys altogether.

“I think there will be a significant portion of the population who are hyper-cost-sensitive and/or skeptical of (almost allergic to) working with lawyers, who may get a better package with AI-assisted self-help documents than with current document packages like LegalZoom,” says Michael Whitty, a certified financial planner who practices as an estate planning attorney at a midsized law firm.

Whitty says, however, that experienced estate planners will always be in demand for clients who are looking for a more in-depth analysis.

“For clients who appreciate focused interaction with an experienced planner, AI will not be a substitute.”

AI Will Have Limits When Used to Perform Estate Planning

SmartAsset: Will AI revolutionize estate planning? What advisors should know

Artificial intelligence will have limits when it comes to the help it can provide in formulating estate plans.

“I would only use the AI for assisting and guiding the clients in the gathering of information and for some initial interview functions to help clients define their goals and objectives,” Whitty says.

Whitty adds that advisors shouldn’t overuse artificial intelligence in their estate-planning duties.

Will AI Take Over Estate Planning?

SmartAsset: Will AI revolutionize estate planning? What advisors should know

AI’s use in estate planning is likely still in its infancy stage. But Whitty doesn’t see it replacing estate planning attorneys any time soon.

“I don’t think that clients who want to work with an attorney are going to want AI to replace the attorney’s experience,” Whitty says. “I expect most clients would be fine with using AI for an initial interview process for gathering relevant information (the way some estate planners have a paralegal help the client fill out the initial questionnaires).”

Bottom Line

AI can certainly be a great resource for advisors and clients. But this digital tool has its own limitations as well. The human element of reviewing and providing client feedback will likely always be a valuable part of estate planning – even in the future.

Tips for Growing Your Financial Advisory Business

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