Experts recommend reviewing and updating estate plans every three years. Some people will review them more often. This is especially true if they move state or make another big life change.
As an estate planning attorney, your job is to make it easy for your clients to create an estate plan and keep it up to date. Keeping track of documents and updates is a critical task, and it can pose a challenge.
Estate plan software can make this part of your job easier. In turn, you can help your clients craft better plans and keep them up to date.
Of course, there are plenty of different programs out there. You need to know what to look for in estate plan software. Keep these five qualities in mind, and you won’t go wrong.
1. The Best Software is Easy to Use
The first tip in our estate plan software buying guide is to look for ease of use in a program. If the software you buy is clunky or difficult to use, chances are it’s not going to help you draft documents any faster.
An intuitive interface and good design are key here. While it does take time to learn software, basic functions should be simple. The design should help guide you, showing you where to click or the next steps to take.
The workflow should also make sense to you. If it doesn’t seem logical, you’ll probably forget how to perform a function or find yourself struggling.
With the right software, you can spend less time drafting, and more time looking for errors.
2. Look for Features That Save You Time
The second entry on our list of estate plan software tips is to look for software that will save you time.
You might think any old program will save you time. Many come with extra features that help automate the process of estate planning. An example is software that connects to a database to look for updates and checks for compliance.
Another time-saving feature is the ability to build templates or scenarios. Most estate planners agree that the majority of clients into one of a few common categories. The details of each case will change, but the basic structure and needs will remain the same.
Simple wills are good examples. Most people don’t have overly complicated estates. A married couple with children will likely want to leave their estate to the surviving spouse or to their children.
The best estate planning software lets you pre-configure the settings for this scenario. Whenever you have a married couple arrive in your office to write wills, you can select this scenario. Your preferences will be loaded, and all you need to do is enter details like names.
This feature helps you save time by building the documents you use most often.
3. Estate Plan Software Should be Comprehensive
Any estate plan software worth its salt should be a comprehensive solution. Some programs let you draft a will or a variety of estate planning documents. They don’t provide a comprehensive solution.
Software that provides a holistic solution will go beyond the essential documents. It also helps you prepare support documents like cover letters and appointment reminders.
The best software will also help you get new clients started with their estate planning. You may offer them a questionnaire. This document will help you collect the information you need to provide great service and advice for the client.
Some software solutions also allow for follow-up, such as a survey. This lets you collect feedback about your performance.
Better communication helps clients move through the estate planning process more seamlessly. It also allows you to provide better service. In turn, your clients are more likely to feel you’re looking out for their best interests.
4. Think about Client-Friendliness
One of the most important qualities of estate plan software is how friendly documents are for your clients.
Wills and other estate planning essentials are complex legal documents. That doesn’t mean your clients should feel like they need a legal degree to decipher them.
Great estate planning software puts the client at the center of the process. It uses client-centered language and focuses on readability.
With client-friendly documents, you don’t need to spend as much time explaining either. Instead, you can focus on what your client needs and wants. The end result will be an estate plan that exceeds their expectations.
Client-friendly documents also improve your service to clients. When people understand their documents, they'll be more confident about their legal choices.
They’ll also be more likely to recommend you to others. Your reputation will continue to grow.
5. Get the Best Support for Your Software
The last entry on our list isn’t something you’ll see in the product demonstration. It’s just as important as the other features we’ve listed here though.
Great estate plan software should come with a great support system. This means you and your team will get the right training so you can use the software efficiently. You’ll also know where to turn when you need help with the software.
You should look for a solution that provides an expert team ready to offer estate plan software help. Support from your software provider should go one step beyond.
Look for providers who offer educational seminars and training. These services help you go beyond using the software and take your skills to the next level.
By keeping your training up to date, you can provide the best possible service to your clients.
Deliver Better Service for Your Clients
There are just some of the qualities you should look for in estate plan software. With the right software on your side, you can save time and money. Better yet, you’ll be ready to provide your clients the best estate planning experience.
If you’re on the hunt for the very best, schedule a demonstration with our team. We can help you start delivering better service for your clients now.