Estate Administration – Control Freaks Wanted!
Whether you’re handling probate matters on your own or as part of a team, you almost certainly hate feeling out of control when it comes to your workload. Knowing what stage that you, or your firm, have currently reached on any particular estate is useful in terms of efficient time management and feedback to your clients.
If you’re handling many different probate matters at once, do you find it easy to remember the details of each individual case? Do you often spend unnecessary and un-billable time, searching through documents in various locations, to get yourself up to speed on an estate and its accounts before eventually getting re-started?
Furthermore, if you’re away on holiday or suddenly have to phone in sick, would someone else easily be able to pick up your own matters and quickly familiarise themselves with what needs attention?
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If you’re not confident that you are working in the most efficient or transparent of ways, maybe it’s time to have a rethink about how you currently operate. And with today’s increasing shift towards fixed fee probate work, paring down your admin time may be even more important than ever. Have a talk to others in the field or your practice and see how they manage their record-keeping, tax calculations, form filling and the sometimes overwhelming documentation which needs to pass across a desk in relation to an estate. It’s interesting to discover that practitioners in the same practice often have very differing ways of working.
You may find that some use Office products such as Excel but then use Word or other software to correspond with clients. They may even do much of their work by hand, such as completing the IHT400 form; a practice which obviously makes it much harder to share information with clients and colleagues, and definitely won’t allow for easy editing.
You may find that others in the field are, however, way ahead of the curve and are using an all encompassing software package aimed specifically at the probate practitioner and which could quickly revolutionise your productivity too.
Software is out there which can record everything in relation to a matter including details of an estate’s assets, beneficiaries, post-death income, distributions, bills etc. Complex calculations can be handled and updated behind the scenes and inbuilt systems can keep track of cash held in bank accounts or other income-producing assets such as shares or rental properties. It is capable of automatically filling out IHT forms or a host of other standard probate documents or correspondence which you might find yourself using time and again. It can even produce interim or final accounts to distribute to all relevant parties. If required, matters can be stored on a centralised database so that colleagues or managers can view or work on the information themselves.
These time saving features are also a lot more affordable than you might expect. Some software, like Probate Plus, even charges on a per-matter basis which means there’s no huge upfront outlay and costs are in proportion with the actual number of times that it is used.
Using modern software which helps you take control of your workload, means you’ll get on with wrapping up estates more efficiently, be in a position to invoice your clients quicker and put a smile on your practice manager’s face because you’re free to bring in further business – brought in by recommendation from your last satisfied customer. What’s not to love about that?!
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