Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Free Software for Trusts & Estates Professionals

On January 10, 2008, the website of Trusts & Estates magazine offered a list of "Free Software for Trusts & Estates Professionals". That list is like a toolbox filled with calculators.

T&E, as a print publication available since 1904, is a well-known subscription resource for professionals. Now, its website references, by links, other
useful resources that are public and free.

T&E calls its website a "Town Center" for professionals, and promises: "On the website, we offer a variety of additional information sources."

Trusts & Estates is the town center where experts who serve the ultra-wealthy's planning needs gather to gain insight into their specialties and to learn about related professions.

This community includes attorneys, fiduciaries, accountants, investment advisors, charitable giving specialists, family office executives, insurance agents and valuation experts. * * *
For example, on its web page entitled "Estate Planning", T&E's Town Center lists online resources, such as blogs. A link to the PA EE&F Law Blog is included among thirteen recommended blog sites.

Also, it offers "Don Kelley's Tech Review" (Jan., 2007 - present), which is described as a "monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley -- a respected connoisseur of software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices."

For example, I find Don's most recent column filled with relevant information, along with a multitude of web links to resources. See: "Googling for Trusts and Estates Materials on the Web -- Quick, easy and free searching for T&E practice resources on the Internet" (Dec., 2007).

On this blog, I have referenced other outlets for Don Kelley's work in trust & estate technology. See PA EE&F Law Blog postings: "
ACTEC Offers T&E "Tool Box" Online" (01/03/08); "Fiduciary Administration Software" (12/14/07); "Estate Planning & Drafting Software" (12/11/07); and "ACTEC Notes Blogs on T&E and Taxes" (07/23/07).

Under each of the Town Center's ten major topic headings are references to articles that appeared in the monthly print issues of T&E magazine. However, unless you are a subscriber to that publication, only the identifying information and the initial paragraphs are available to read.

But the listing of free calculators -- that's a different story!

Twenty-one websites are described that offer calculators for a variety of purposes, which I generically characterize as follows:
  • estate tax estimation
  • social security benefits
  • personal financial planning
  • charitable donations
  • savings bond valuation
  • loan, mortgage, & interest payments
  • savings projections for college, retirement, or obligations
  • certain income tax calculations
  • IRA vehicle conversions & comparisons
  • refinancing & amortization costs
  • charitable gift annuities, CLTs, CRATs and CRUTs
If these free versions would not meet your need, consider buying one.

On January 10th, Don Kelley further posted on the T&E Town Center a list of nineteen "Commercially Available Software Applications for Trusts & Estates Professionals". One among those listed could be a good tool for your job.