One of the biggest frustrations for will and probate specialists is finding financial documents and accounts tied to an estate. As many as 25% of cohabiting couples are also entirely in the dark when it comes to their partners financial situation.
With a lack of physical cards, heightened account security and a huge increase in online finance providers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to track client’s assets. In fact, professionals have claimed they struggled to find accounts in a quarter of their cases in the past 12 months.
This is a huge use of time and resources that could be utilised elsewhere. However, an increasing way to combat this issue is with life planning platforms, which help clients get their estate in order and make not only specialists’ lives easier, but the client’s family too. Legal professionals are partnering with these providers as a way of streamlining the probate process and making sure nothing is left unturned.
Ian Dibb is the founder of life planning platform, Once I’ve Gone, which has proven to be extremely popular with industry professionals such as will writers and probate specialists. After his personal experience with loss, he is passionate about helping people make sure their families are protected and their estate is in order.
Here he explains his inspiration behind the platform and how it’s helping so many probate specialists and their clients.
“I sadly lost my sister Jane when she was 28, and two years later my mother died from cancer. Neither had left any plans in place or had organised their estate. This meant we had to make very difficult decisions during what was already an extremely challenging time. This is something that thousands of people go through daily, but it doesn’t need to be this way. It was these personal experiences that really inspired me to create a platform that helps ease the pain and difficulty in this challenging time.”
The life planning platform enables people to plan for the future and for their family. For our users it’s about peace of mind and knowing they have everything in order to remove that stress from their family. However, we are finding that probate specialists are also getting secondary benefits, from their clients organising their estate.
A complaint amongst many is the increasing difficulty of finding financial assets of clients. In fact, there is currently an estimated £70bn of unclaimed assets just in the UK. Encouraging clients to effectively plan and leave all the necessary information behind, can really streamline the process for both professionals and their clients. If we can play a part in helping families recover what is rightfully theirs, then we are happy to provide a platform that helps them achieve this.
There are three main elements to the platform: organisation, memories and messages, and final wishes.
Firstly, it enables users to get their personal, legal and financial affairs in order, to ensure their loved ones have access to them after they’ve passed. It eases the planning process that so many people struggle with. For example, their loved one may have a will written, but what happens next? Where does their family find the document when the time comes? Where are their insurance policies? What financial accounts do they have? The platform eases this confusion and keeps all the important documents in place. This is the element that professionals are most interested in as it ensures their client’s information is organised and easily accessible.
The second element of the platform, Memories and Messages, offers the opportunity to leave a personal legacy behind. A concern that many people have is how and if they will be remembered after they pass. Of course, social media often showcases a lot about one’s life, but this doesn’t show the real us; your status update from 2015 isn’t what you want your family to remember you by. The message element on Once I’ve Gone lets you leave personal video messages to loved ones, so you can say the things you’ve always wanted to. These videos are sent to the chosen recipients once you’re gone, creating a lasting memory of who you really were.
Lastly, the final element of the platform focuses on final wishes; my reasons for founding the platform centre very heavily around this. Making decisions on a loved one’s behalf, for their final goodbye can be difficult. You feel an immense amount of responsibility to get it right. We want to remove this pressure and encourage people to share their wishes before it’s too late. From song choices to the kind of burial they would like, users can share the kind of funeral they envisage having, ensuring their family can grieve without experiencing this additional worry whilst ensuring that your send-off is a celebration of your life.
Overall, the pandemic has made many people question their own mortality, and as a result, legacy creation has become an everyday conversation. The more people open up to their loved ones about their end-of-life plans, the easier it becomes for probate specialists. They will have all the information they need upfront and not waste time and money looking for undiscoverable financial accounts and assets. This is why so many specialists are looking to partner with life planning platforms such as Once I’ve Gone and are making a huge difference to people’s lives – both personal and professional.