AI and the Future of Estate Planning: Can ChatGPT Draft a Trust?

Jun 23, 2023 10:01:00 AM


AI and the Future of Estate Planning (1)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken a giant leap forward recently, bringing what seemed to be the future into the present. AI programs are already transforming businesses by producing automated responses to customers, marketing materials, emails, and virtual education programs. You may be wondering about the effects of programs like ChatGPT on the estate planning industry. Could your job eventually be replaced by a machine? We put this emerging intelligence to the test to see if an AI program could create an effective trust. Keep reading to see the results of this experiment.

What is ChatGPT and how does it work?

ChatGPT is a remarkably lifelike natural language-processing program. OpenAI, the company that developed the technology, designed it to produce human-like responses to the input of natural language. Here are some things that ChatGPT can do:

  • Answer questions
  • Write emails and articles
  • Brainstorm ideas and themes
  • Compose poems and songs
  • Translate natural language into computer code

OpenAI has trained ChatGPT using a 500-billion-piece data set of content written by humans, including books, articles, and literary compositions from many genres. Based on this knowledge, ChatGPT tries to understand the context of prompts to give an appropriate response. Although ChatGPT has passed law school, business school, and medical school exams, it is still prone to errors, however. Because it was trained on the work of humans, it can produce content that is biased, objectionable, or flawed. For example, one of ChatGPT’s ideas for a Christmas-themed tennis tournament was to use snowballs instead of tennis balls. Therefore, all content produced by ChatGPT should be examined closely by a human before it is published. 

How do you give prompts to ChatGPT?

Getting helpful responses from ChatGPT is possible if you feed the right prompts into the program. Sometimes, you can ask it for alternative ways to say something, like a thesaurus. You can also word your instructions in the following ways:

  • Make specific requests using words such as “summarize,” “brainstorm,” or “create”
  • Teach it a pattern so that it will make a relevant suggestion, such as “Name of pet dog: Trixie. Name of pet cat: ______”
  • Set parameters, such as asking for a top five list or requesting a serious or humorous tone
  • Request responses formatted as a poem, song, or email
  • Use words such as “hint” and “context” to tell the program not to be too literal and produce an answer that considers the context

Because ChatGPT is designed to resemble a conversation, you can ask follow-up questions such as requesting a more active verb or a more descriptive adjective. 

Case study: can ChatGPT draft a trust?

We put ChatGPT to the test by giving it a series of prompts to see how effective it was at creating a trust-based estate plan. Estate planning professionals, who juggle the complexities and nuances of current laws and planning best practices, know how involved creating an effective trust can be. Unsurprisingly, ChatGPT fell short—in many ways. Not only did the AI-generated trust fail to include provisions for incapacity of a trustor, beneficiary, and trustee, it also provided qualified terminable interest property language that could waste the decedent’s estate tax exemption amount. 

To see the entire AI-generated trust and analysis of how it fell short, download the full case study by clicking the button below.

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