Wills and Estate lawyers often have similar concerns about efficiency. Will and Estate lawyers spend hours on a labour intensive process, while manually entering data and not to mention the legal and regulatory concerns when drafting documents. A software designed to tackle such concerns could ensure that your client is getting the best legal advice and a top quality client experience. Not only that, but by using the best legal tech, lawyers specializing in wills and estate planning can massively cut down repetitive tasks and better focus on their expertise and business and grow their practice.
Lovelegal provides a client portal to clients wanting to draft a Will that is white labelled with the law firm’s logo and colours on it, giving it the appearance of software owned by the law firm. The software is embedded in the firm’s website. Once the client logs in, they are prompted to select which estate planning documents they want to purchase within the portal, then are lead through a questionnaire that asks them questions prompting them to select how they would like to distribute their estate. It acts in place of an estate planning questionnaire which would normally be sent to the client upon deciding to have a Will drawn up. Lawyers don’t need to communicate with clients until after they have already purchased their document, at which point the lawyer is notified that someone has paid, and proceeds to review the automatically drafted estate planning document, make manual edits to clauses if necessary, then set up an appointment for signing with the client.
Client portals like Love Legal affect the number of retained clients, which means it is the type of software most likely to have an impact your top line revenue. This is in comparison to will drafting software like E-State Planner and HotDocs (mentioned below) that improve the internal efficiency of a firm without affecting the process through which clients are retained. Aside from an online portal that handles client intake automatically through the site, the company will help you market to clients by providing email templates your firm can send out to past clients with a link to your client portal.
Simplicity: Love Legal’s questionnaire comes pre-built with explanations of what common estate planning terms mean such as executor, cash gifts, residual estate. Their UI is designed to be understood by non-legal professionals. The questionnaire design is exceptionally modern and simple to comprehend.
Referrals: Works well for referrals from financial advisors because a financial advisor just needs the link to a firm’s portal to refer clients to a firm, which reduces the friction involved in a client needing to book an appointment with a law firm. The majority of clients do not follow through on booking an appointment due to this seemingly small amount of friction, which a link to a portal eliminates.
Pricing: Charges are $50.00 per document with no monthly subscription. The law firm pays for the software only when they get paid by clients.
Precedent Editing: While the precedent can easily be edited in Love Legal, it does not have a drag and drop feature to build a visual representation of a client’s estate plan.
Customized Precedents: Love Legal comes with built in precedents for a Will, Power of Attorney, and Personal Directive for each Canadian province. If a firm wants to use bespoke clauses from the firm’s precedent you will need to pay extra for the firm to add this to the built in precedent.
Conversion to Microsoft word: Does not convert to Word, all editing is done within the software then the document is converted to PDF.
Another Wills and Estate software is E-State Planner, designed by the law firm Hull and Hull LLP, which provides a visual estate planning tool with which lawyers can create a visual representation of the client’s estate plan before generating the corresponding estate planning documents. Once the visual representation is created, all relevant documents will be automatically generated based on the information provided in the visual estate plan. The lawyer does not need to build a form or insert information manually, all information is captured digitally from the visual estate plan and the software automatically produces the correct clauses and language that is required. Further, additional visuals are generated regarding tax planning and visual representation of estate plans for the sake of the client’s understanding.
E-State Planner provides an easy to use digital intake process as well which allows client to open a secure link via their email and provide the necessary information through a client portal. Once this information is provided by the client, suggestions on the best approach will be visible to assist the lawyer in providing the best estate plan to their client.
As mentioned, this software also offers access to Hull and Hull LLP precedents, Will templates, and expert insight along with other helpful features for estate planning with complex multi-tiered conditions and provisions.
This software has broken down the estate planning process into three stages:
Automated or manual client intake, during which as much information as possible is provided by the client.
Generation of a customizable visual estate plan using drag and drop features.
Once the estate plan is complete, all estate planning documents are generated automatically.
This software offers excellent backend support to lawyers in order to ensure they are providing accurate information that addresses any concern regarding their client’s estate plan.
Generates visual graphics based on the estate plan created to help clients have a better understanding of their estate plan and tax implications, resulting in a better client experience.
Subscription to this software is relatively pricey as their monthly subscription starts from $349/month up to $1199/month. Though a per client model is available, lawyers will need to pay between $75-$110 per client that they want to service using this software.
E-State Planner does not provide any payment handling services between the lawyer and client, all payment handling is done off the platform.
Hotdocs is a well established company in the legal tech space and HotDocs can support and automate the entire legal document assembly process – from first draft to final eSignature. Though Hotdocs provides document automation software for many industries, specifically, they have document automation for Wills and Estate planners. In a matter of minutes, you can have a full-featured document automation solution designed specifically for your practice.
With hotdocs you can enhance compliance and the overall quality of your work by ensuring adherence to approved business rules set by internal or industry authorities by using software. As such Hotdocs will help Eliminate human errors that can creep into manual processes while reducing wasted time and associated costs and protect you against legal issues stemming from inaccurate, non-compliant content. However unlike Lovelegal and e-State Planner, this compliance tool does not offer legal precedents or legal insight but rather Hotdocs ensures compliance with industry standards.
Training: Hotdocs provides personalized training to ensure users are able to get an expert on a video call who helps through solutions to each of the unique challenges a practice could face.
Price: Hotdocs provides affordable subscription prices starting at $25/month per user which allows users to have more options at lower price points.
Conversion to Microsoft word: HotDocs comes tightly integrated with Microsoft Suite out of the box, with the exception of Excel. With HotDocs you can quickly transform existing Word Templates into HotDocs templates & also setup automated email messages to send via Microsoft Outlook (will work with Gmail as well).
In comparison with other softwares for Wills and Estate lawyers, the compliance tools provided are not as comprehensive as the other competitors.
The software is built to be entirely customizable which makes using the application challenging to use for people that are not proficient with computers. Creating and maintaining templates requires considerable computer skills and background to perform.
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