A new client contacts you to see if you can prepare their will or trust.
What do you do next?
Schedule an appointment to meet with them? What information do you ask them to bring to their appointment, if any?
After meeting with them, and it is time to prepare their documents, do you rely on your memory to try to recall another client with somewhat similar needs that you've prepared estate planning documents for in the past to use as a boilerplate?
Or, do you start from scratch?
Online estate planning may be able to help you streamline and improve your estate planning processes (leaving you with more time to devote elsewhere!), all the while making your estate planning clients happier with the final product.
Whether you have been doing wills and trusts for years or only handle a few a year, you are likely aware that many estate planning scenarios are similar across the board. Some are not.
For those that are, why not have access to documents addressing each of the common scenarios you are likely to encounter so you don't spend valuable time getting those basics drafted into your documents? Allowing you to spend less of your time tailoring them for your specific client's needs.
Read on to learn more about online estate planning and how it can help your practice. You may be very impressed.
What is Online Estate Planning?
Online estate planning is software that is designed to make drafting wills, trusts, and other estate-related documents easier and more efficient.
The software is pre-loaded with a variety of templates that can be generated (after inputting a client's individual data) into draft documents which can then be edited by a lawyer. Thereby cutting down your original drafting time. You tell the software if you want to create a will, a trust (revocable or not)
These templates can include everything from the engagement letter to a survey sent to the client after the completion of the estate documents, depending on the software provider. These templates can give the law firm an all-encompassing package of correspondence as well as the documents needed for their estate planning client.
How Does an Online Estate Planner Save You Time?
Estate planning software is built to cover many of the situations most of your clients will encounter when planning for the distribution of their estate.
Over time, you will have clients who are married (with or without kids), single (with or without kids), want to their possessions to their grandkids rather than their children, etc. For each of these types of scenarios, many issues will be consistent.
Having software set up so that each time you have to create a will or trust for a particular type of client so that you can start with that template, it will save you time. No more having to remember which work you did for a prior client fits the new client's description. The software does that for you.
Of course, some of your client's will have their own unique estate needs. For those, you simply draft the required additional language using Microsoft Word to tailor the scenario to your individual client.
You also do not have to remove all the prior client's personal information or data since when you use the estate planning software, you will enter each new client's information into the program and it will be inserted into the appropriate spaces.
Thus, eliminating any more worry about a possible embarrassing moment of a having a new client find a reference to one of your other clients in their documents.
How Does Using Online Estate Planning Improve Your Practice?
Most estate planning software provides you with more than just the ability to generate wills and trusts.
Many provide with you with questionnaires for your clients to fill in to ensure all the possibilities are covered prior to drafting their documents to eliminate possible future client changes when something is missed in the initial discussions.
In addition, they also provide you with many of the other forms that address issues commonly needed by your estate planning clients, such as:
- Providing someone they trust with a Power of Attorney over their financial and/or health care affairs
- Instructions for what do to with their remains/burial preferences
Most of these forms will be auto-generated simply from your original input of the client's basic information into the software. The documents will then only require your review and/or minimal editing to be ready for your client's signature.
How Does Estate Planning Software Make your Client's Happier?
Estate planning software takes the legalese out of your writing.
By drafting documents in easy-to-read, everyday language that laypersons like your clients can understand, estate planning software ensures that your clients will be able to read what you have produced and they will be able to tell that the document(s) give the proper instructions for handing their estate they way they intend.
Allowing your client to fully understand their estate plan will provide them with a sense of trust in your law firm. That sense of trust will also help to ensure that if their situation changes in the future that they will return to your firm for their future estate planning needs.
As you know, obtaining the client in the first place is the hard part. Don't lose them simply by leaving your client confused about some of the most important decisions they will make in their lifetime.
Make them feel secure and worry-free about the future of their estate. If you do, they will be much more likely to refer you to their family and friends.
Streamline Your Estate Planning Practice
It's never too late to switch your practice over to an easier, more effective way of handling your clients' estate planning needs.
Check into online estate planning today to see if it is right for your business.
The sooner you do, the sooner you will begin to save you and your firm time and money.
In the law firm world, time is money!