ValueWalk’s interview with the Founders of Gentreo. In this interview, they discuss providing an online tool for eldercare and estate planning, their product offerings, how they differ from Legalzoom, guiding users through regulatory or state laws changes, Gentreo Family Vault’s card features, how small businesses are benefitting from tech, and encouraging families to do estate planning.
Can you tell us about your background?
Gentreo is led by a team of eldercare, estate planning and entrepreneurial experts. The team is led by Renee Fry, who has over 20 years of entrepreneurial and government experience. She was CEO of a consumer company; led Phillips Lighting’s New Business Initiatives, helped GT Solar execute its IPO and is a Harvard Business School MBA. Julie Fry founded Making Care Easier, was on the executive team of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and a founding team member of the Private Duty Home Care Association. John Amaral has built multiple successful tech platforms including RueLaLa/SmartBargains and was the IT lead at Celarix, a $55M VC funded start-up. Mary Kate Connolly D’Souza is an estate planning lawyer licensed in MA, CT, and PA, bringing over 20 years of legal experience to the team.
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What about your business?
Estate planning is no longer just for the wealthy. Gentreo, www.gentreo.com, is making estate and eldercare planning tools available for everyone. Gentreo provides users with information to not only learn about what estate planning is, but to easily create and save personalized and state-specific essential documents and share them on-line with friends and family.
What products do you offer?
Gentreo provides families with an easy-to-use, guided solution that allows users to create, save and share their own estate plans. Users complete, store and share state specific documents like wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, pet powers of attorney, trusts and more.
Once users create their state-specific and legally-binding documents, Gentreo lets users upload finalized documents and other important information into their secure Gentreo Digital Vault. Users are also given Gentreo Cards that can be filled out with essential contact information like Insurance, Financial, and documents and more. Next, users invite friends and family to join their team (which is free) and choose what specific documents and information to share and with whom.
How do you make money?
Gentreo charges users a one-time annual set-up fee and then a yearly storage and update fee.
How do you differ from competitors like Legalzoom?
Gentreo makes it simple for families to create, store and share their health and estate family plan so they can sleep at night. It’s not just a will, it is true state-specific estate planning that is now affordable and available to all. Plus, Gentreo’s Family Vault gives families instant access whenever they need it to retrieve documents and information from anywhere.
There are many legal risks small business owners many times do not realize i.e. using copyrighted photos which could cost $150,000 each time, how can business navigate such complex national and state laws?
Gentreo notifies users when regulatory or state laws change and guides users through updating any affected documents. Businesses, now through Gentreo, can offer their employees the benefit of Gentreo and always staying on top of current laws and needed documents.
Businesses like Stripe are getting into business formation with offerings like Stripe atlas how do you stay advantage in the industry?
Gentreo is adding new services all the time to expand our offering. Some of our new offerings include our new card features in our Gentreo Family Vault which let you share specific pieces of information and our new emergency alert system which lets families share critical documents right away.
What are the most surprising trends you are seeing with small business owners?
We see more small businesses adding apps and links like Gentreo to their human resource offerings so as to compete with larger employers that many assume might provide better benefits. From a marketing and sales viewpoint, the world around us is moving faster than ever before and small businesses are now moving as fast as well. Whether it is new social media engagement or using the internet to find new customers, businesses are engaged with both employees and customers.
Are you noticing any slowing of activity among the small business sector?
No, Gentreo just helped three new financial planners get set up to offer Gentreo to their customers.
Any differences you are noticing based on region or size?
No, Gentreo’s software is available across all 50 US states and we see all trending toward recognizing and now acting on the need for estate planning. And, even more so, people are beginning to understand that estate planning is not a one and done scenario. One needs to be aware of laws changing, relationships changing and more.
If you could pass any legislation related to business formation what would it be?
We would make it easier for businesses to register with states to make it a one and done process, meaning not having to go to multiple government entities to get set up.
From a Gentreo standpoint, we would like to see more state governments encourage families to do estate planning because if families don’t do it, those families will lose thousands of dollars and countless hours in what could have been prevented if estate planning had been properly done.
Everyone needs estate planning. Single, married, rich or poor. The Gentreo basic plan includes a will, power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, emergency card, Gentreo Family Vault™ all available today and affordable.
Mary Kate D’Souza, Gentreo’s legal expert, notes, “As an eldercare and estate planning attorney, I always wished my clients had a tool like Gentreo. They didn’t need to be in court; they needed a Gentreo to plan and prepare and save the thousands of dollars and time that they just didn’t have. So, instead of wishing, we created Gentreo because nowhere else in the market is a tool that considers your situation, your location and then helps you fill out needed forms and store and share them with those you trust.”