There’s so much information about online tools and how they can be used in different law practices. All businesses can benefit from using online tools. However, the best tool for your business changes depending on your size, needs and the needs of your clients.
For example, there are server-based and web-based solutions and those with a one-time payment or subscription licensing. Some tools are better suited for specific practice areas.
As an estate planning practice, you are managing a delicate transition in your client’s life. These are sensitive conversations, and assuring clients that you’re on top of their situations is key to retaining your relationship.
This article discusses a few online tools for estate lawyers and how your practice can benefit from them.
Case Practice Management: ProTempus
ProTempus is a server-based practice management software suite which was made for small law practices. Its key assets include:
- billing and timekeeping
- contact management
- case management
- trust accounting
- accounts payable and receivable management
- general ledger management
- document management
You can track your billable hours by making calls through this system. ProTempus gives a green light to show that all meetings and calls have been billed. Using the contact management feature, you can record all client-related information, including names, addresses, and contacts of clients, witnesses, and attorneys.
In ProTempus, you can link an unlimited number of contacts to an ongoing case. The case management feature enables you to track trial dates, sent and received emails, call histories, documents needed, follow-up notes and other details. Furthermore, it’s possible to set alarms or trigger dates to notify you about impending deadlines.
Using the inbuilt assembly functionality, there’s the ability to create documents from intake forms and manage your accounts. You can integrate with separate accounting software (QuickBooks enabled) or use the embedded G, AR, and AP ledgers, and be able to generate accounting statements and manage your bank account.
In terms of fees, there’s a monthly subscription without signing up for a long-term contract. The product comes with free updates in perpetuity and support for the duration of your contract. It can also import data from existing software.
Information Storage: Clocr
Clocr software for estate lawyers is a single database where you can store all the information about your client’s estate planning portfolio. These documents include:
- Medical and financial power of attorney
- Beneficiary designations
- Advanced directives
- Wills and testaments
- Life insurance policies
- Any property documents.
Clocr brings together end-of-life and succession planning aspects such as legacy planning, estate planning, account disbursement, and document management. In the event of sudden or untimely demise, you’ll have all your clients’ full information to execute their wishes.
Clocr for Business offers solutions to businesses involved in seniors care as well as estate planning or probate lawyers. By providing this additional value to clients, you can increase their loyalty to your firm and increase the possibility of getting new business from them.
As security is a top concern, your clients’ documents will be stored in highly-secured portals secured by 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Multi-factor authentication is added to strong password measures to ensure only those with the right authorization can access the documents.
Your clients’ documents will be protected from loss, fires and other natural disasters without the risk of falling into the wrong hands. And because you already have so many of their documents, clients will readily trust you with their family’s documents for continuity’s sake. This will secure new business for you in the longer term.
Productivity Tracking: Smokeball
Smokeball is one of the fully cloud-based productivity tracking tools for estate lawyers. It can record and track time automatically, revealing places where you’re bleeding billable minutes. Smokeball users have reported more than 30 percent increases in productivity and hence, profitability, which is quite significant.
You can use Smokeball regardless of your billing system – hourly, contingency or fixed fee billing- and gain insights to increase your team’s profitability. Smokeball includes over 14,000 electronic forms and is integrated with MS Outlook and MS Word for easy data input and email management.
Team members can install Smokeball’s mobile app, which enables access on-the-go for both Android and iOS. It is ideal for computers running Windows 8 or 10 only. Users have given 4.5 stars on customer and consultation support.
Increasing productivity not only impacts your own profitability, but it also trickles down to client satisfaction. If their matters are resolved and heard promptly, you’ll be dealing with issues swiftly, which increases their faith in you. They’ll entrust more matters to you, and also refer family and friends as a result of your reputation for prompt and efficient service delivery.
Customer Relationship Management: Daylite for Mac
Customer relationship software is for any business, not just sales, and marketing teams. As a law practice, you need a tool that helps you understand your current and potential client’s deals and get them moving along their purchase journeys. This results in new business for you and increases customer satisfaction.
Daylite helps you to manage appointments and to-do items related to clients, their data and contact information. You can create to-do items related to estate-planning actions, track communications and meetings and track where different documents are stored.
Daylite’s real abilities lie in its creation power – you can create organizations, contact, tasks, appointments, notes, opportunities, groups and projects. Say you meet an estate-planning client four times. Every stage has its tasks, and they must be completed in some order.
Daylite can help you track where you are with each client using its Activity Sets and Projects features. You can automate certain communications such as reminders of impending deadlines – both for you and the client.
Finally, you can use Daylite to follow up on prospects, or check in on clients who have completed the estate planning process. After one year, for example, you can be reminded to make a follow-up call on a client. How are they doing? Do they have any questions? Do they have any more assets which need protection/planning for? In this way, you’re always at the forefront of your client’s mind.
There are many more tools and software for estate lawyers. The most important factors to consider when choosing a tool is how it will benefit your business and client portfolio. You want a tool that is tailored for the size of your practice, but also one that can easily grow with the practice as you grow.
Finally, choose a tool that allows you to import data once you sign up. This way, you don’t have to start from scratch every time you get new tools that are tailored for estate lawyers.