Kelley Rating (one asterisk = lowest, to five asterisks = highest):
- Ease of navigation, design of interface and learning curve *****
- Instructional documentation and help system ***
- Carries out the goal of the product as advertised *****
- Overall usefulness ****
CrummeyService is a web-based solution to the administrative problems of Crummey trusts. It automatically sends gift and premium payment reminders, creates Crummey notices informing beneficiaries of their withdrawal rights. It sends the notices to beneficiaries; records acknowledgement of the notices and sends copies to trustees, grantors, fiduciaries and advisors to the trust. It relieves the attorney and trustee of tedious hard copy storage and administration. The publisher’s website includes a presentation on the nature of this service and screenshots of sample notices and reports.
CrummeyService accumulates, manages, tracks and monitors key trust information for grantors of trust owned life insurance. It records transactions, creates notices and alerts for funding shortfalls at defined intervals from the premium due date, supplies unpaid premium alerts and sends hard copy and electronic letters as required. The publisher asserts that all information and transactions are tracked and monitored in a secure environment. Trustees are notified when to pay the policy premium with payment date, method, amount and all other relevant payment details stored in the system. CrummeyService will manage the entire irrevocable life insurance trust lifecycle. It supports compliance with Internal Revenue Service and Uniform Prudent Investor Act regulations and guidelines and produces year-end and on-demand reports for tax filing and estate settlement. Administration of a trust may be authorized by CrummeyService, the trustee or an advisor. Notice text, data visibility and administrative rights can be controlled at the regional, office or attorney/advisors level.
This service may also be branded with your logo or, as a default, your contact information can appear on all communications to trust parties during the trust lifetime. The publisher offers extensive support for a corporate implementation.
Trust data is retained forever. Access to data is determined by authorization level based on the party’s role in the administration of the trust, with only authorized parties able to access trust data. Trustees have full data access, but beneficiaries will be given only limited access to data. Data access is available from any web browser 24/7.
What’s It All About?
After gathering the information needed to set up a trust (insurance policies, trust documents, the contact information for all parties to the trust, etc.), you enter the data required to set up the trust initially. Unless this information changes, this will be the only time you will need to enter it.
Upon entry to the secured area of CrummeyService, at the Welcome screen you are presented with the Main Dashboard that features a navigation menu on a left hand pane, a larger right hand pane and at the top, navigational buttons, a list of accounts and a Help menu. The right hand pane offers quick access to Add a New Trust, Complete Trust Entry, Record a Gift, Record a Policy Payment and My information. You can enter your personal information and settings at the My Information screen, which is then used throughout the system.
You may select Add a Trust on the right hand pane or choose from the activities listed on the navigational pane. A description of activities is available for each selection on the right hand pane. At the screen for Add A New Trust (or the screen for maintaining trust data), there is a tab for every party to the trust: grantor, trustee, guardian, beneficiary, policies, insured, advisor, and fiduciary. This information needs to be entered only once and is then used throughout the system. Access may be granted as desired. Fiduciaries may manage and edit information, if given permission. As all the necessary information for each tab is completely entered, a dot on the tab for the screen you are working on changes from red to green.
Saved data for each party includes tabs for personal and contact details, home address, business information and phone numbers.
A screen addresses Summary, Gift to Trust, Policy Payment and Gift Acknowledgment, displaying a list of previous gifts.
After the trust data for a new trust is entered and the dots on the tabs at New Trust are all green, the trust may be activated by clicking on the button “Activate this trust.” The trust is then ready to begin use of the website’s services. A welcome notice to the interested parties will be generated when the trust is activated.
Each year you will enter the gift(s) to the trust and information as to the payment of the life insurance premium.
Click on Financial on the left hand menu to open the Financial tab, which allows you to view and edit Gift to Trust, Policy Payment and Gift Acknowledgement for the policy you select, as well as displaying a summary of the trust activities for all policies.
You can then select Notice from the left hand menu to display a list of all trust activities (gift, policy payment, funding acknowledgement, etc.), as well as the welcome letter and the Crummey letter. Double click on the letter description to view the letter, select recipients, details for the delivery of the notice and the contents of the letter. The withdrawal notice defaults to 30 days, but may be changed. The Crummey notice language may be set to the default or you may tailor it as you see fit. The notices are customizable.
The Trust Attachments page allows you to upload the trust document file, or other documents associated with the trust, for storage and review.
You can create a Trust Report or Gift Report in a variety of formats, as desired. Selecting History allows you to view all activities of a given trust.
The Maintain Users tab allows you to enter the basic contact information for all users of a given trust and set the group and access settings for each user.
CrummeyService reminds the grantor (or employer, as applicable) when a gift to the trust is needed to ensure there are sufficient funds for the premium payment, and will automatically send the grantor, trustee and fiduciary a new gift reminder notice the following number of days prior to the premium due date: 60,30, 15, 0 (on the due date), and -15 (fifteen days into the grace period). A policy review reminder can be automatically generated on a user-defined schedule for each policy held by a trust and delivered to any of the trust parties. As with all notices, the text can be tailored, or default language can be used.
What About Help and Support?
At the Main Dashboard, and other screens, the Help menu offers a Hints screen that details the methods of data entry for all screens and a glossary. Each page includes context related help with instructions as to its operation. The site includes a facility to send the publisher your comments, corrections or suggestions.
How Do You Contact the Publisher?
CrummeyService is published by CrummeyService.com, LLC. The Standard version is priced at $399 per year, with a one-time setup fee of $200. Branding is separately priced. Volume price discounts for advisors, re-sellers and enterprise customers are offered.
Initial contact is by email at:
A free demo is available.
CrummeyService allows you to eliminate the burdensome paperwork and administrative bother of servicing Crummey trusts and provides a convenient electronic means of efficiently addressing this area of your practice.
Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at [email protected]