Prior to using elegacy, the wills and estates team at Bell Alliance identified an area of need in their workflow. They wanted to streamline their process to improve their efficiency and build their business as an innovative and nearly paperless law firm. Without software, they spent a lot of time compiling information from various sources, inputting data and drafting documents. It was a slow process.
They believed the process could be easier with the right innovative legal services product and they have been instrumental assisting in the development of Dye & Durham’s web-based elegacy software.
Without software of any kind, preparing a will, as with any legal document, is prone to human error. Every newly drafted document has opportunities for mistakes. Careful review of information provided by the client is required to ensure all necessary facts are included. When information is missing, the lawyer or paralegal must take time to meet or call the client to obtain the right data. Sometimes, a case needs several follow up encounters to gather all the detailed information for estate planning, such as the identifying details of the will makers and their beneficiaries, their assets, liabilities, bank accounts, pets and will instructions, among other details.
The team tried other software before working with elegacy. But other programs were less convenient. The software was not supported by all browsers or computers and did not offer mobile platforms. Information collected on other software still required manual data entry and was not user friendly. It still took a lot of time to work through the process.
The team helped to develop elegacy as a “one stop shop”. It is user friendly, has a modern interface, and streamlines the entire process of estate planning and document preparation. It is smartly designed to gather information, facilitate drafting and track workflow.
Clients start by completing the online intake form, at their convenience. The firm sends a link to the platform where they complete the form. If they require help, someone from the firm can access the same form in real time, see exactly what has already been done, and help them finish. Poonam Kaila, a paralegal at the firm, notes, “we have a lot of elderly clients, and this helps us to help them”.
Poonam further notes that “other software didn’t connect to the wills questionnaire” and still required manual data entry.
In addition to information required for a will, the intake form requests all relevant estate planning details such as assets, liabilities and contact information for important people who may not be part of the will, and safely stores this information. Nicole Harris, a paralegal at the firm, notes that it saves time “to not have to dig all over for this information”.
elegacy’s intake form has a ‘copy to spouse’ button, which eliminates repetitive typing. When clients submit the form, it is ready for processing by the firm.
The software provides alerts for information that is missing from the form, allowing users to easily track what is still needed. As the form is processed, its workflow can be traced. Automatic emails to the assigned team are generated at certain points in the process, such as when it is assigned for review, when the review is completed or when it has been annotated.
When the review of initial information is completed, the intake form is imported to the program, eliminating copy typing of data. elegacy provides a status overview of all sections and a summary of the data in an ‘easy to reference’ format. Poonam says, “the intake form is easy to use, comprehensive and makes me feel secure that we have the right information”.
Drafting a will is easy in elegacy. The software is designed to allow law firms to customize their workflow. Rules can be established within the software which cause specific documents, precedents or clauses to be pre-selected for drafting based on the information provided in the intake form. This allows users to prepare only the documents that they include in their practice.
Shahroo Fattahi, a paralegal and manager at the firm, notes “elegacy gives the firm flexibility to define custom precedents, templates and clauses”. Users can also edit individual documents. Shahroo notes “it is convenient to store all precedents, templates and clauses in one place”. This type of “dynamic drafting” simplifies the process and saves time. Changes can be updated with a click of a button and all drafts are saved. Automation to this extent provides a quick and smooth workflow which allows better productivity.
Sunjeet Grewal, a lawyer at the firm, notes that without software, it was difficult to work through templates during client meetings. elegacy facilitates her client meetings. Keeping track of notes by both the client and lawyer is so much easier with elegacy, as the notes feature tracks exactly when and who annotates the document and allows emails or other file formats to be attached in the note. She notes this is so important when reviewing wills years after their original drafting to provide the context for any changes.
The software helps the team move the file towards completion by providing an automatic file checklist for the steps involved. As each step is completed, the software automatically marks it as ‘done’. The team notes that the alerts, automatic emails, and activity tracking are “very helpful and good to know” when returning to a file after an absent period.
elegacy’s reporting feature allows instant filtering of a firm’s entire elegacy client list. Quickly determining which wills have not been updated in ten years or who is now over the age of sixty-five years old contributes to good practice management, as it allows proper follow up with clients. The Bell Alliance team notes it is helping them to provide great customer service while at the same time building client relationships and a constant revenue stream.
Using the web-based elegacy software fits perfectly into the firm’s branding as an innovative and nearly paperless law firm. A web-based platform allows clients to access and complete their intake form from anywhere anytime. It is compatible with all browsers, Mac and PC computers, and mobile devices, providing the utmost of customer convenience.
Sunjeet notes that elegacy makes “reviewing documents easier and more streamlined” and that she is “more efficient with my time”.
As they continue to implement elegacy, Shahroo notes that the team expects elegacy to provide them with more consistency in the firm, greater efficiency, a reduced chance of errors and reduced paralegal time; all of which lead to increased profitability.
Knowing that their client information has been thoroughly gathered and is securely stored gives this team from Bell Alliance peace of mind and helps them to build better client relationships with their time.
Bell Alliance is medium sized firm serving clients in Vancouver and the British Columbia interior. As an innovative firm, they provide real estate, business, estates and immigration services in a nearly paperless practice. They are committed to providing great personal service and building long term relationships.Learn More