The Key Challenges Facing Estate Planning Professionals Today

We reached out to our friends in the estate planning industry to understand their challenges post-pandemic. Having shown great resilience in the face of COVID-19, we were keen to understand what these organisations considered their next challenges to be.  

Overview

Improving efficiency and futureproofing were found to be the biggest challenges for organisations as they plan to set themselves up for scalable growth, with many highlighting lead generation as a key challenge for them.  

Reducing admin and the re-keying of data continues to be a challenge, with many organisations also reporting a challenge around managing risk across the entire business/practice. Suggesting many are finding it difficult to streamline processes and drive consistencies across offices or departments.  

Less than half of respondents reported information systems as a challenge for them. Suggesting respondents have or are aware of the technology that can resolve the aforementioned, higher-ranking challenges. With some organisations surprisingly reporting that encouraging clients to use digital services was a challenge, despite the growing demand for it within the marketplace. 

Themes relating to employees were not considered a challenge, with few respondents highlighting this as an area of their concern. Those who did, marked recruiting new staff as their major challenge with some citing difficulties in supporting remote working. 

Challenges in Order

This report lays out this survey’s findings in order of the challenges, with the highest scoring challenge listed first and so on:  

  1. Improving efficiency 
  2. Futureproofing 
  3. Marketing & client engagement 
  4. Risk management 
  5. Information systems 
  6. Reporting 
  7. Employees 

Improving
Efficiency

Improving efficiency was reported as the biggest issue for companies in the Wills & Trust space, with 74.78% of respondents highlighting it as their biggest challenge by a significant degree.  

The core challenges within this section were reducing the need to re-key in data and reducing the levels of admin.  

Futureproofing

Preparing the business for the future was the second biggest challenge, with 66.30% of respondents reporting it as a challenge for them. Suggesting many organisations are aware of further market changes to come.

Though many of the challenges in this section ranked quite highly, making Wills more profitable and growing the business scored the highest in this section of the survey. As businesses likely consider ways in which to drive further efficiencies into the Will writing process and work to attract more clients.

Marketing & Client Engagement

Marketing and client engagement scored similarly as a challenge, with 48.19% respondents saying marketing was a challenge and 46.91% saying client engagement was also a challenge.

Lead generation received the highest challenge rating within marketing at 8.5 out of 10. The highest rating within the entire report. Digital marketing was also highlighted. This reinforces the findings from the futureproofing section, where growing the business was a key consideration for businesses.

For client engagement the two biggest challenges reported were improving the client experience and turning documents around faster. Touching again on the finding that driving efficiencies into the business is a key priority.

Risk Management

Risk management followed closely behind marketing and client engagement, with 43.75% reporting it as a challenge.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, protecting the company’s brand reputation was highlighted as one of the key challenges within this section. As companies look to grow and generate leads, brand reputation would be considered a key risk to their growth strategies.

Managing risk across the organisation/practice scored the highest in this section, with a 7.49 score out of 10. This can somewhat be linked to the desire to drive more efficiencies, as companies may consider streamlining processes, such as due-diligence and driving consistencies into the way in which documents are drafted.

Information Systems

37.35% of respondents marked information systems as a challenge for them. With gathering client data electronically scoring the highest, followed by encouraging clients to use digital services.

The latter is somewhat of a surprise, as other market reports have suggested an increase in the demand for digital services. For example, The Financial Times report on the changing face of professional services, shows that 65% of consumers say digital service delivery is now one of the most important factors when selecting a firm. A trend that is likely to continue as more tech savvy generations enter onto the radar of estate planners.

As organisations look to generate new leads and attract the next generation, this encouragement may no longer be required.

Reporting

Only 20.73% of organisations marked reporting as a key challenge for their business. With twice as many smaller organisations (1-15 employees) reporting difficulties compared to larger organisations (16-51+employees). This may be due to larger organisations having access to data management software, and therefore reporting tools.

For those who marked reporting as a challenge, benchmarking was considered as the biggest challenge. Followed closely by improving the breadth of reporting.

Widening the range of reporting capabilities is a current challenge for many organisations, as they look to integrate tools to share data across systems. Which in turn, improves reporting breadth and scope.

Employees

Challenges associated with employees received the lowest number of respondents citing it as a challenge overall, only 20.25%. Which is good news for the industry as wider market reports highlight the strain from the ‘great resignation’- a wave of employees moving jobs, partially inspired by the end of the pandemic and cost of living increases.

However, for those who did report this as a challenge, recruiting new talent received the highest score with 7.63 out of 10. Surprisingly, supporting remote working received a 6.50 score out of 10. Suggesting that despite the industry’s movement towards hybrid working, remote capabilities through technology may not have been fully adopted yet.

Driving Efficiency, Futureproofing and Lead Generation with Arken

Arken’s industry leading estate planning software helps organisations to draft documents in minutes, dramatically reducing the administrative burden on fee earners in the Wills & Trust industry.

Processes are digitised and streamlined, precedent banks are managed and the risk of errors are dramatically reduced. Saving organisations time and money.

Arken’s Digital Fact Find, Online Wills software and Intestacy Lead Generator offer estate planning professionals ways in which to engage existing and potential clients online.

Read more about Arken’s estate planning software. 

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  • Arken is an absolutely fantastic tool. It is extremely easy to use and has helped our practices in Will drafting to a huge extent. I could not be without it now. I would recommend to any legal specialist looking to invest in Will writing software. Very cost effective too.” 

  • “Arken’s Will Writing Software helps us to effectively manage our precedents, provide a better client experience and unify our processes across our offices. We are also able to draft our documents much faster than before and Arken’s wider toolset has helped us streamline in more areas and create better looking, comprehensive outcomes for our clients.”

  • “We did a careful review of available solutions and chose Arken, as it has a very user-friendly and intuitive user experience, helped us with an improvement in our working practices, introduced time efficiencies and facilitated our ability to standardise our processes and mitigate our risks. The support team at Arken are excellent – very responsive and invested time to understand our needs. We had extensive support before and after going live. Arken is very easy to use, the templates are consistent and we have reliable support.” 

  • “Following a well-planned and successful implementation, we are delighted to see how the Arken software has enabled us to streamline our approach to Will drafting. We are now producing consistent Wills which use uniform clauses across all of our lawyers. The commentary document which complements the drafted Will is extremely helpful to our customers.”

  • “We have been using Arken since it was launched. Other than the fact that it is a superior product when compared to other solutions in the market, the exceptional customer service they provide is the cherry on top. They have an excellent and well thought through product suite which really makes Arken a one stop shop for those specialising in Estate planning/ Private client work. We look forward to more innovations from the great team at Arken”

  • “Arken Professional has significantly improved the speed in which I’m able to produce Wills and associated documents, but without compromising on quality. Saving time re-keying data and ensuring consistency across documents has allowed me to focus on other important areas such as client retention and new business.”

  • “Arken Professional is the superior product in the market. We’ve used other solutions before, but nothing can compare to its quality, efficiency and flexibility.”

  • “I have been using Arken Will writing software for a number of years, and have found it excellent, and easy to use. The support from the office has been exceptional whenever I have needed it, with a quick response and great patience at times. I would certainly recommend the software and also the company without any hesitation.”

  • “The whole team have found the Arken system very easy to use and it is very user friendly. The initial and ongoing support and training provided is excellent. Using the system saves a lot of time on data inputting, especially on the LPA drafting. It produces clear explanatory documents for all our Clients to understand. I would highly recommend the system. 

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