Estate planning in the U.S. is a $180 billion industry and, unlike many of the other areas in the multitrillion-dollar financial services market, it's one that has yet to see a slew of technology companies come in to try to improve efficiencies.
One notable exception is Trust & Will, the San Diego-based startup that has announced a new $6 million investment to expand sales and marketing, product development and partnerships.
Timing seems good for the company and its other competitors. The $180 billion estate planning business is expected to surge as millennials start having children and begin thinking about their wills. It joins other staid businesses like life insurance and home insurance as a category that's traditionally been overlooked by entrepreneurs who now see increasingly digital customers make demands of industry participants.
Right now, half of all adults in the U.S. have no will and millions more have out-of-date estate plans, according to Trust & Will. In addition, 45 million parents with minor children have no form of estate plan.
Since its launch in April, Trust & Will has had 60,000 members enroll in the company's platform; those enrollments represent $15.1 billion in total assets, $2.7 billion in reported life insurance policies, $137 million in charitable commitments and 88% holding real estate assets.
The company has a tiered subscription model offering a $399-$499 service plus an annual subscription fee for the creation of a trust-based estate plan that the company says can avoid probate for the protection and transfer of assets; a $69-$129 level, which includes plans for surviving beneficiaries and asset distribution; and a $39-$49 plan for parents with minor children who aren't ready to complete a will.
While customers may be able to draft a will themselves and just store it in a safe place, some people will likely gravitate to a digital will. At least, that's what Link Ventures, Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Western Technology Investment, Techstars Ventures, Luma Launch and Halogen Ventures are hoping for with their commitment to the company's Series A financing.
In January, the company closed its first electronic will with help from its industry partner, Notarize. Co-founded by serial entrepreneur Cody Barbo, former product ad marketing strategist Daniel Goldstein and product designer Brian Lamb, the company now counts 11 people on staff.
"Trust & Will is another example of how digital services are disrupting traditional industries by offering a convenient and lower-cost estate planning solution that helps consumers protect their valuable assets and loved ones," said Rob Chaplinsky, a managing director at Trust & Will's series A lead investor, Link Ventures. "We have been following this category for quite some time and feel that Trust & Will's product and rapid market traction are second to none. We look forward to leveraging our big data assets to help them scale."