Estate Planning in the Era of AI: Why Financial Professionals are Here to Stay


by Theresa de Leon, EVP, National Director of Sales at Arden Trust Company

AI technology has rapidly grown in popularity across the financial services industry. It's an incredible tool that can be used to assimilate vast amounts of data, create and evaluate alternative scenarios, make quantitative calculations, optimize sets of known variables – more and more use cases abound.

While there are several instances where AI can be safely used by financial professionals, the technology is missing a key component of the estate planning process: human emotion. At Arden Trust Company, we are dedicated to providing a unique, customized experience built on relationships where financial professionals can remain confident knowing their clients have access to industry-leading resources like AI, along with their own expertise and support.

Below are three reasons why financial professionals have the upper hand over AI when it comes to estate planning.   

  1. Estate planning is an emotional experience. And AI lacks the ability to recognize, comprehend, and respond to human feelings. Interacting with clients requires empathy, patience, and understanding. With a financial professional’s expertise, subjectivity, and knowledge of the range of emotions commonly experienced during the process, clients can rest assured knowing their goals are considered and voices are heard.

  2. There are complex dynamics to take into consideration. Estate planning requires a full understanding of family history, family dynamics, motivations, and intentions. Only a team of dedicated and experienced financial professionals can provide the comprehension and execution necessary to reach a successful client outcome. While AI can provide clients with options and projected outcomes, a financial professional’s expertise offers a detail-oriented plan with all factors considered and helps clients to understand the nuances AI cannot identify.

  3. AI cannot tailor recommendations for specific situations. Financial professionals see a wide range of family situations and know that each estate plan is unique, resulting from countless discussions around clients’ goals and intentions. While AI is suited to handle basic questions and calculate quantitative outcomes, estate planning demands a highly customizable and tailored approach. AI lacks the human sensitivity that experienced financial professionals bring to the table. It’s unable to consider each client’s unique circumstances in order to provide the best, personalized approach. 

When properly used, AI can help streamline tasks across a financial professional’s day-to-day, but it’s no replacement for an advisor’s ability to listen and problem solve on behalf of clients. And it’s also no match for the practical experience that advisors collect over the span of their careers. While AI tools can formulate answers for most queries, some data and information used may not be current – whereas advisors have access to up-to-date information. In the end, our team at Arden Trust Company will continue to watch the evolution of AI and its potential impacts on our industry, so that we can best combine its use cases with our own expertise on behalf of the advisors we work with and their end clients.