While retirees are leaving less to their heirs than they might have a generation ago, there are many more people leaving property than ever. That means that estate planning attorneys are seeing more people through the door than in the past. But if they're not ready to handle the work, they might end up getting bogged down without estate planning software for attorneys.
Here are five questions to answer before you start using this kind of software.
1. Is It Secure?
When you're about to start using estate planning software for your law firm, you need to take some precautions before you buy a lifetime subscription. the number of companies that are going online now is exciting but without preparation, things can get messy.
It's vital to know the security standards that the software you're using employs.
When you're putting together a trust or using forms to plan for an estate, you can't let that fall into the wrong hands.
Family members who expect to get something might start getting nosy if they suspect they're not in a will. You can't risk the forms falling into the wrong hands for the safety and security of your clients.
There are plenty of horror stories of people who have been injured or threatened by family members over an estate. Some people even plot murders in hopes of getting the estate holders to hand over money that feel they're old. If your software isn't secure and the data is easily accessed by the wrong person, you'll lose the trust of your client and start problems in their personal life.
Security is essential and a data breach could cost millions of dollars. It's better not to risk it at all.
2. Does it Make Work Easier?
One of the key concepts of using estate planning software is to make work easier. If you're struggling to manage a lot of clients with complicated estates, planning software is key to making life easier.
However, if you need to spend weeks training to use the software just to manage a few customers, it might not be worth it.
For any law office, time management is one of the keys to success. The more you're able to carefully manage your time, the better you can service your clients. When you're wasting time trying to use software that's challenging to your staff, it's not worth the cost of having people doing work that doesn't generate revenue.
Any good software solution is going to offer you a trial to test things out with your team.
Sign up for a trial and work with some new customers or some mock customers over a weekend to see if the solution works for you. It could take you hours just to figure out how to get started.
If you foresee that it makes life easier for you, consider using it. However, if it ends up making work more complicated, don't feel like you have to use the software in the digital age. It's not always a time saver.
3. Do You Need Customer Support?
Even if your team is good at figuring out how to use the software, there's always the need for customer support. When you have updates that need to be done, there are often changes to the interface that make use of the software confusing. Even updates to operating systems throw a wrench into the mix if there are compatibility issues.
Many of the issues that come up with software aren't clear until customers hit their heads against them.
Testing teams at software companies do rigorous testing with the code, but they don't battle test most software. That's up to customers and can reveal lots of crazy compatibility problems when you're trying to get work done.
Customer support should be available 24/7. You never know when you're going to be working on a client's problems. You could have to change an estate or a will in a weekend marathon session.
If you run into problems with your software, you need to talk to someone at the software company. When they make it hard to reach them and hard to get help, you should seek out a different solution.
4. Are You Up On State Regulations?
Every state has its own unique regulations when it comes to putting together wills and estates. There are lots of federal tax codes to be aware of but even more state and local taxes to be aware of.
State regulations might be more complicated and difficult to understand that the federal codes. When you call up customer service at your estate planning software company, can they walk you through things? If not, then their software might not be valuable to you.
They should be able to generate forms that cover the kind of estate you're putting together. Their forms should also comply with regulations and rules from each state. It should be easier for your firm to operate within the limits of the law with this software, not harder.
5. Is this Your Main Business?
If estate planning isn't your main business, then you may not need software to help.
On the other hand, software that makes work faster and easier ensures that you can get through this business much faster. Because you have other work to do, software that fits your budget can get the work off your table quickly.
If it's easy to generate and share forms as needed, then you should feel comfortable relying on estate planning software to serve your clients.
Estate Planning Software For Attorneys Requires Time
You need time to learn any estate planning software for attorneys. Make sure you have that kind of time to devote to training before you completely change your system. If you want to ensure that you're properly serving your clients, get to know the software intimately before you change your system.
If you're looking for signs that you need software, check out our latest guide.