Some insurers still need paper trusts with the wet signature, others now do e-signatures and some allow the details to simply be entered online during the application process.
Wet signatures are old. We bang on about wanting to engage with millennials but they live on technology; the industry needs to do everything possible to move with the times.
Paper trusts are time-consuming and it is so easy for policyholders to make mistakes on them – at which point the whole postal process, signatures and completion start again.
Royal London and LV have both moved to use e-signatures for their trusts. I see this as a first step towards the digitisation of trusts. It removes the time delays of posting paper forms and getting time to have all signatories and witnesses to meet up.
It is easier and quicker for people to complete, which I can only assume will mean more uptake (if the policyholder understands the value of it).
Then you get Aviva, Legal & General and AIG, all of which allow trusts to be completed online during the application process, without signatures. This is the next step in improving the attractiveness in trusts.
The trust can be set up at the point of application with nominated beneficiaries and trustees, no need to get witnesses involved.
Another solution is the Payout Planner, which is currently used by Guardian. Payout Planner offers the same benefits as standard trusts, quicker payout of a claim without the need to wait for probate and protection of the claim against inheritance tax.
The standout thumbs-up of this process is the ability to easily update the nomination of the beneficiary, without having to consult trustees.
Hurrah. Trusted people and loyalties change, families fall apart, divorce happens, beneficiaries could themselves die before the policyholder does. Flexibility is key to engagement.
I can think of a few occasions where assigning trustees will still be the right thing to do, to safeguard the policyholder and beneficiaries, but I think this system, designed by Ruth Gilbert, partner at Insuring Change, should be rolled out as an option for clients across the industry.
Kathryn Knowles is managing director of Cura Financial Services