As estate planning becomes more complex, the majority of professionals offering advice on the matter are relying on technology to bolster efficiency, according to a recent survey.

Sixty-nine percent of 142 financial planners surveyed by TD Wealth now incorporate digital tools into their clients’ estate plans. TD Wealth surveyed certified estate planners, estate planning attorneys, trust officers, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals and non-profit advisors earlier this month.

TD Wealth says blogs, social media and email accounts lead the way in the type of digital tools planners rely on, cited by 71% of respondents, followed by passwords, cited by 67%.

The company adds that the increased use of such tools “is consistent” with more clients becoming interested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, cited by 61% of respondents.

"In this current market environment, we're seeing a distinct shift to increased digitization, whether that's planning for social media accounts, interest in cryptocurrency, or simply exploring digital wealth planning tools," Donna Walton, wealth strategist at TD Wealth, said in a statement. "People want their financial planning to advance alongside their day-to-day use of technology and digital integration."

The survey also found that 83% of respondents use digital tools to support clients’ estate planning, 52% leverage estate planning software and 48% rely on wealth or estate planning platforms.

Financial planners are also increasingly having problems with the designation of beneficiaries, cited by 34% of respondents as the top reason for family conflict this year, up from 17% in 2021 and 14% in 2020, according to the survey.

The top threat to financial planners, meanwhile, is market volatility, cited by 31% of respondents in this year’s survey, up from 22% in 2021 and 13% in 2020, TD Wealth says.

In addition, the survey found that planners find document management a challenge, with 31% citing powers of attorney as the most difficult area to manage, followed by current wills, cited by 29%, and guardian and beneficiary designations, cited by 20%.

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