The end of a year and the start of a new one is a good opportunity to reflect and replan.
My Co-Founder at Exizent Nick Cousins considered Exizent’s year at the end of 2023 in his Christmas Blog – Season’s Greetings from Nick Cousins. To summarise, Exizent had a good year, adding lots of functionality/users to our law firm focused specialist SaaS probate/executry processing software, completing the research & build of our SaaS financial services customer death notification and process management software, and seeing growth in our team/business.
Those familiar with Exizent or who have seen Nick and my video exploring our raison d’être know that our purpose is to improve the experience of the processes associated with a person’s death. With 2024 a week old I have therefore been reflecting on what I would like to see in 2024 in the space variously known in the United Kingdom as estate administration, probate or executry, which I am going to call ‘Probate’ in this blog.
At the very highest level, in 2024 I would like to see the experiences of all stakeholders in the Probate process improving.
For the last three years, we have produced the ‘Bereavement Index’ (BI) which is a piece of research covering the perspectives of those individuals dealing with a bereavement, the services professionals (solicitors, paralegals, accountants, financial advisors etc.) that often help, and the institutions that need to be contacted during Probate. Exizent created the BI as a sector benchmark and something to judge our progress on – so I would like to see the findings in terms of the experiences reported, now well post-Covid, improve this year.
I would like to see legal services professionals being able to work with more clients in 2024, as by doing so more grieving families will be accessing expert help when they need it most. To enable this, I would like to hear of legal professionals being ever more efficient in the ways they themselves identified in the BI 2023 including: standardisation of good practice in firms; ongoing personal learning and development; greater adoption of specialist Probate technology & data tools; and improved recruitment & retention.
I also want commercially focused institutions such as banks, life assurers, pensions firms, investment managers, other financial services firms, utilities, telecoms firms and others to improve the quality and consistency of both bereavement journeys and notifier experiences this year. We, and in particular my colleague Jen Macpherson, have done lots of research with firms and know there is a strong fiscal, reputational, risk and Consumer Duty business case benefit that can be realised in doing so, often swiftly, and particularly if the investment has been neglected historically.
Whilst some areas are good/improving, public service institutions can also contribute to systemic improvements. I would like this year (and in future years) to see: court response times to applications reduced; greater provision of better technology driven services related to Probate; greater performance transparency; and service quality/consistency improvements in all jurisdictions. Whilst large steps would be great, many incremental smaller improvements would be good too as they will have an exponential overall impact over time due to the volumes involved. Thinking even bigger such improvements enable improved productivity in other institutions, legal services firms and directly/indirectly provide important benefits to citizens too, so would be extremely valuable. I am sure that, like us, many of the other stakeholders stand by ready to help Courts Services, HMRC or Tell Us Once wherever we can.
That brings me to the final less tangible things I would like to see in 2024 in the Probate space. These are collaboration and openness in order to deliver the above and continuously improve to the benefit of all.
At Exizent, we will help you and your team to transform the way you deliver estate administration services and improve the bereavement experience for everyone involved.
This article was submitted to be published by Exizent as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.