Harries Watkins Jones Chartered Accountants utilises LEAP to provide wills and probate services

In 2015, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) launched a qualification to enable chartered accountants to handle non-contentious probate. Harries Watkins Jones spotted this as an opportunity for growth and a natural expansion of its work and set up a separate business to focus on legal services for its clients, Harries Watkins Jones Wills & Probate.

Identifying a growth opportunity

“While probate is handled by solicitors, it covers a lot of collecting and distributing assets, and deals with inheritance tax – all of which are finance related,” explains Neil Harries, partner at Harries Watkins Jones. “Clients regularly asked us for legal services, especially around probate, so it made sense to us to expand our work to officially cover these areas, rather than need to outsource it.”

Harries Watkins Jones were fully committed to this new venture and hired an expert solicitor to support the evolved area of work, but the firm needed software that would not only help them deliver legal services quickly and efficiently, but also help them to compete with solicitors already providing this service to the public. The team had been investing in becoming paperless as a business and many of the staff worked remotely, so Harries Watkins Jones was particularly keen on finding a cloud-based solution that could support this.

LEAP was recommended to the firm by a number of notable legal professionals, including the solicitor that was appointed by the team and a lawyer lecturing on the probate training course that some of the Harries Watkins Jones staff undertook when establishing the new legal services entity.

“It became clear to us that software such as LEAP was the industry standard and a necessary investment if we wanted to offer the same level of service as a traditional legal practice,” continues Neil. “We took a look at a few other options but after a trial it was obvious that LEAP ticked the boxes for us.”

The ability to compete with both accountants and solicitors

Harries Watkins Jones uses LEAP’s innovative technology for the development of wills, probate and LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) documents. Areas of the LEAP platform that support the firm’s legal work include the pre-loaded letters and forms, and the ID and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) checks – all of which save the team a considerable amount of time. As a cloud-based solution, the team can also work effectively when in the office and working remotely and ensures Harries Watkins Jones maintain their commitment to being paperless.

“Without such technology, we would need to rewrite our own forms and letters and put them on our accounting software, which would be time-consuming and put us at a disadvantage,” says Neil. “We needed a reliable solution to help us compete in the legal market and be efficient, and the LEAP platform delivers that for us.”

Harries Watkins Jones now has a combination of skills in-house and effective software solutions in place to provide a comprehensive service to its clients, differentiating the firm in the market.

Neil comments “Our onboarding and initial set up and training on the system was great, I’d highly recommend LEAP to other chartered accountants if they are looking to enter the legal services market.”

About Harries Watkins Jones

Harries Watkins Jones is a firm of chartered accountants based in Bridgend, Cardiff and South Wales, offering a bespoke, high-level and friendly service to its clients. With extensive expertise in accounting and tax, the firm has longstanding relationships and has served some of its clients for over 30 years.

About LEAP

LEAP, and the recently launched LEAP Estates, provides an end-to-end digital solution for estate management, probate and lifetime planning professionals. Offering powerful features and functionality, the innovative solution provides everything required to manage a client’s wills, LPAs and estates efficiently, supporting lawyers, legal departments, will writers, estate planners, IFA or accountants handling private client work.

This article was submitted to be published by LEAP Estates 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.

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