Profitable Probate – be slick and efficient
Established probate departments within firms large or small continue to be the most profitable areas within a private client firm. With a recession proof business model it is blindingly obvious why the probate market has recently become one that has experienced a great deal of interest being bestowed on it. With many new players in the market is a good time to look at your probate department with fresh eyes; complacency is now dangerous.
With the opening up of the legal market place, Probate has been a relatively easy ‘in’ for many of the new players in the game. Ok so maybe the one size fits all at one cost offering isn’t one to be necessarily replicated but there might just be lessons to be learnt on the approach. Systemising a process like probate is possible and makes good business sense for both the client and the practice.
On embarking on every probate matter the desired outcome is for a practice to bill more for the service than it has cost them to deliver it. Nothing wrong with that. However there are so many aspects within a probate case that can result in hours of un-billable time being written off to satisfy the clients and the costs of cases taking longer than expected.
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Trying to balance a set of probate accounts at the end of administering an estate can and is often the hardest part of managing an estate. Frustration and hours of un-billable time reconciling simple or complicated accounts is often where the profitability of probate administration starts to dwindle. Entering details of liabilities, administration costs and assets in a central store as and when the information arises results in the probate manager having access to accounts that are balanced at all times throughout the administration. Information is stored and reported on at the touch of a button. Not only is the probate manager in complete control of the matter from day one, but the practice is able to keep the PRs and beneficiaries informed as to the progress of the matter and ensure speedy conclusions, which in many cases is of more importance to the clients than the cost.
One heavy cost to a firm is in the respect of cover during staff holidays. If all matters in a firm are being managed using a tool like Probate Plus then it is easy for a colleague to continue entering the information as it arises rather than piling up information. Your probate department’s output doesn’t have to have seasonal variation around the school holidays and festive breaks.
De-skilling all aspects of probate administration is not an avenue we would advocate. Specialists in their field are absolutely worth their weight in gold. But give them a tool to maximise their effectiveness, output and profitability and then you have a winning formula.
With some big players entering this market space Probate administration has to be slick and efficient. It has to remain profitable and working smart has never been so key to a firms’ success.
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