In Focus: Intergenerational Wealth  

Digital estate planning service launches

Digital estate planning service launches

A service that allows advisers and accountants to store all of a client's digital footprint in one secure place has started rolling out to the financial services marketplace.

Called Zenplans, the service helps to bring people's information together - whether it is a list of their social media accounts, information on their bank accounts or their lawyer's contact details.

Stephen Moses, founder of Zenplans, said he came up with the idea when helping his father get his financial affairs in order.

He realised how people can leave behind a mountain of personal information when they die, and the beneficiary or survivor has to access the information from dozens of different sources, sort it all out, and inform countless people of the death of their loved ones.

With the shift towards a paperless society, he said it has become difficult to know what exists.

One of the advantages of Zenplans, according to Moses, is that it can help advisers keep funds under management across generations by creating a digital relationship with the client's descendants.

He said: "If advisers are doing work with clients to help grow their wealth and pass it on, then the client will need to be leaving information to their descendants."

Zenplans provides advisers with a tool to help their clients organise, store and securely share personal information.

While neither Zenplans nor the adviser would have access to any passwords, they would be able to see whether a client that has died or lost their mental capacity, has dormant bank accounts or premium bonds, or has set up a power of attorney, for example.

He said: "It aims to provide peace of mind for clients by knowing that their affairs are in order should they pass away or lose mental capacity. It's a meaningful way for advisers to show clients that they care about the wellbeing of their loved ones."

Beyond finance

Zenplans currently covers the client's assets (such as bank accounts or pension information), their debts, their daily life (such as Amazon or store cards) and their wishes.

But managing one's digital footprint "goes beyond finance", said Moses. "We also can bring together social media accounts, information about the mortgage and utilities providers, who the client's vet is, who their accountants or their GPs are, enabling more holistic financial planning.

"They can also use Zenplans to keep a record of the lifetime gifts made by the deceased - which can often be a paperwork pain for the executor," he said.

"This is also where philanthropy and the Will comes into play: for example, working out which charities or people might need to be notified on death" he added.

Zenplans is also set to add functionality to include state information such as the national insurance number, taxpayer references and the client's UTR.

Moses added: "The idea is that this becomes a living, breathing encapsulation of your life. Advisers can use it as part of the client fact-find and reviews to suggest next steps on how they can further support their clients.