Male sips coffee while reading Atticus guide to estate settlement

Powering Financial Literacy through Family Legacy

Nick Broomfield

Atticus on empowering financial literacy through transfers of family legacy.

Millions struggle with financial literacy — lacking the knowledge to make informed choices about money.  Nowhere is this weakness more exposed than the transfer of wealth between generations.  In many ways, fintech has helped individuals make great strides towards financial literacy, providing easy to use platforms to save, invest and plan for the future.  But how prepared are families to navigate the complexities of settling an estate?  Will they have the confidence and skills to meet the demands of this challenging life event?  A recent study on financial literacy found that “by doing small things today, people can significantly change their circumstances over the long-term.” 

It is with this in mind, that we outline how Atticus is working with families to inform and empower during the emotional journey of losing a loved one.

“By doing small things today, people can significantly change their circumstances over the long-term”. 
How we help:  The Testator 

First off, who is a 'testator'? A testator is someone who's written and executed a last will and testament, which is in effect at the time of their death. So, if you've made a will or expressed your wishes, then you're effectively now a testator. Congrats!

Testators have made the important decision to plan ahead, by completing a will that expresses their final wishes.  It’s a significant step to reduce concerns about financial decisions when a family member passes.  Sadly, there are still many unknowns that remain after death, including creditor details, social media accounts and a complete inventory of estate assets.  Atticus solves for these uncertainties with tools built into its automated platform to allow the testator to provide the most in-depth preparation. Snap photos of assets with your phone and easily add to the estate asset inventory.  Tackle the digital footprint with tips to ensure social media accounts are closed in a timely and respectful manner.  Understand notice to creditor requirements in your jurisdiction and communicate with all parties to reduce the anxiety associated with transfers of wealth.  By preparing in advance, Atticus gives the peace of mind that families are in control of their final wishes and financial well being.

How we help:  The Executor

For those unaware, an executor is the formal word given to an individual in charge of administering an estate after someone has passed to ensure their final wishes are honored. Other terms for an executor might include personal representative, estate trustee, liquidator or executrix.

While it’s a sign of respect to be chosen, it's also a tremendous responsibility — one that should not be taken lightly.  On top of the considerable time commitment, there is another factor that many executors need to understand — personal liability.  The executor has a duty of care to act on behalf of the estate which can result in costly legal challenges.  So how does Atticus solve for the threat of legal actions?  Simplicity.  Understand your role by following the complete guide to executor duties, written in easy to understand, everyday language without confusing legal terms.  Confidence.  Fully document your actions as an executor with automatic time stamped activity tracking embedded into Atticus’ reporting services.  Empowerment.  By providing the right tools, Atticus keeps executors on track and in charge of their financial futures.

How we help:  The Beneficiaries

Who are beneficiaries? Beneficiaries (of an estate) are the individuals or institutions who receive something of sentimental or financial value after being named in a last will & testament, trust agreement or life insurance policy. This group of inheritors are collectively referred to as beneficiaries, and usually includes a combination of individual heirs, spouses, children, close friends or family, named charities or other philanthropic organizations.

We’ve all heard the stories about points of conflict and the inevitable family drama that comes from settling an estate. So how can Atticus inspire families to work together and create a sense of harmony?  Transparency.  Share and review comprehensive reports at any stage of the process to keep beneficiaries in the loop on important topics such as listing assets, status of government applications and executor compensation.  Easily share task completion status and value of estate assets to set realistic expectations around the timing and value of the inheritance transfer.  By informing beneficiaries, Atticus helps those take control of their future and make smart financial decisions.

How we help:  The Advisors

A considerable factor in empowering financial literacy begins with ensuring affordable access to qualified advice.  This is particularly important during estate settlement and inheritance conversations as individuals often need sound advice before and during the wealth transfer process.  

As assets are passed to the next generation, families and advisors alike struggle to connect during the earliest stages of the transfer process when planning can make the biggest impact.  These trends highlight the importance of building relationships and trust with beneficiaries as they navigate the nine to twelve month process prior to the ultimate distribution of inheritance.  Atticus has bridged this disconnect between consumers and advisors by introducing an integrated advisor dashboard, allowing advisors to quarterback the process and remain involved by guiding their clients through the probate process. By connecting beneficiaries with advisors, Atticus provides the resources and expertise to help empower sound financial planning decisions.

Financial well-being starts with literacy

Financial literacy initiatives have gained support in recent years with an entire month dedicated to their cause (November in Canada, April in the United States).  Atticus shares this vision and believes fintech will play a vital role in empowering families to make sound financial decisions.  In making this platform widely available, we hope to positively impact financial literacy and help usher in a new era of informed consumers leading their way through the difficult transition of losing a loved one.  

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