Exclusive insights into how estate lawyers run their practice in 2023

Recent survey identifies trends and best practices that drive success amongst estate professionals

Exclusive insights into how estate lawyers run their practice in 2023
Jordan Atin

This article was provided by eState Planner

One of the best ways for estate lawyers to improve their practice is by comparing it to that of their colleagues. By understanding how other lawyers handle estate planning files, identifying any trends or best practices they may be missing, and evaluating how their fees compare to those of other lawyers, they can gain key insights and ensure the success of their practice.

To help lawyers access these valuable insights, eState Planner, Canada's leading estate planning software for lawyers, surveyed over 100 Canadian estate professionals. The complete report, which can be found here, offers valuable insights into the practices of Canadian estate law in 2023. This article presents some of the main highlights from the report.

Streamlining the client intake process

Thorough client investigation forms the foundation of successful estate planning, and a significant portion of law firms recognize the importance of this initial step. In 2023, approximately 73% of firms send out digital questionnaires to clients before their first meeting, streamlining the intake process.

However, a notable 32% of lawyers report that at least half of their clients do not fill out these questionnaires correctly, highlighting the need for improved client communication and education.

Adapting practice to modern family landscapes

Canadian families are evolving, becoming increasingly complex, and diverse. Lawyers must adapt their practices to address the unique needs of clients from various family demographics. While 64% of client files remain typical, where assets pass to the spouse and then to children, blended families are more common than ever.

Because of potential conflicts, 57% of estate lawyers rarely or never act for both spouses in blended families, often requiring other colleagues to step in.

The full report highlights the expectations of estate lawyers regarding new trends in their clients' family situations.

Embracing technology and the impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed significant changes in client interactions. In 2023, the majority of lawyers continue to conduct their initial meetings virtually, primarily affecting larger Canadian cities. However, lawyers practicing in smaller towns still prefer in-person meetings.

Efficiency plays a crucial role in optimizing estate planning practices. Lawyers must streamline their workflows to effectively meet client demands. Adopting technology, such as eState Planner, can greatly enhance efficiency. In fact, 65% of lawyers reported using software for drafting wills, while the remaining third rely on word processors and copy-pasting.

Estate lawyers have increased their fees in 2023

The adoption of technology has enabled sole practitioners and firms to streamline processes more effectively and prioritize client experience. As their processes become more efficient, almost 90% of firms have implemented flat fees to optimize their practice.

With technology helping lawyers improve their practice, the average fees charged by lawyers have increased in 2023. The fees for "typical" couple packages of wills and powers of attorney have risen by 12% compared to 2021.

The full report provides detailed information on the average fees charged by lawyers, broken down by cities and municipality sizes.

With dramatic changes in technology and the practice of estate law generally, it is essential for lawyers to stay updated on industry trends and best practices. The insights shared in the full report offer guidance for estate lawyers looking to enhance their practice, streamline processes, and meet the evolving needs of their clients.

eState Planner supports fellow practitioners through resources such as on-demand webinars and CPD-accredited courses available on e-stateplanner.com/toolkit. Practitioners can sign up for a free 30-day trial to explore the potential of eState Planner and how over 1,600 practitioners use it.

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