The fifth rendition of the annual British Wills and Probate Awards is becoming ever-closer. As we count down to the 20th October at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, our “Sponsor Spotlight” series will highlight the progression, innovation and achievements of all our sponsors who make the event possible. We’re delighted to have Exizent return as this year’s networking and category sponsor at the British Wills & Probate Awards.
First of all, tell us who you are and what you do
I’m Aleks Tomczyk, COO and Founder at Exizent. Having unfortunately watched friends go through the bereavement process and experience the same struggles over and over again, it became clear to me just how lengthy, repetitive, and overly complicated the probate process can be. Having lots of experience in technology innovation in my career, I became convinced that in this era of digitised services, and more transparent and open access to data, there must be a way to make the process of administering someone’s estate more efficient, simple, and secure, and ultimately less stressful for the bereaved.
This is why we created Exizent. We are leveraging technology to create the first ever platform that connects data, services and the network of people involved when someone passes away. Exizent will connect the data and services used by legal services firms, banks and financial institutions, and executors to reduce the administrative burden on those grieving – and those professional helping them. Our mission is to help everybody reduce uncertainty in the process, increase the speed to resolution, and make the bereavement process more straightforward for everyone involved.
We’re already making it easier for legal services so they can get back to what’s important – using specialist knowledge and expertise to help clients when they most need it.
Technological solutions such as Exizent’s platform were never more important than during the pandemic. What are you doing to ensure you remain at the forefront of innovation as we leave the pandemic behind us?
It’s a really exciting time for LegalTech. Innovation is happening in many areas, much of which is being driven by customer expectations, based on their consumer experiences, and by a need for better productivity tools – partly to attract and retain teams. Adopting cloud-based software offers businesses many advantages, including allowing multiple users to view data in real-time and collaborate effortlessly. Our software is modern and cloud-native, so user-accessed via a browser, which enables us to continuously improve our platform, rolling these changes to our customers almost immediately with no requirement to update or install a new version.
New technology enables better ways of building software. As a service design-led company, we understand that designing good services and products is about solving problems and not just at the start of an initiative. It is a constant process of improvement, development, and innovation. We want to continue to design with people that could use or benefit from our service to make sure not only that we solve those immediate problems, but that we continue to provide the best solutions to new and emerging issues by building them together. We gain frequent feedback from customers including in pilots and beta testing. We also have a dedicated Research Community of professionals who work in the field of wills, estate planning or estate administration and are passionate about influencing and transforming the industry; we work regularly with these experts to do that and are able to offer them something in return – the opportunity to influence the future.
Our agile approach to delivery allows us to identify and investigate the next problems needing to be solved, collaborating with experts and iterating quickly in small increments, rather than delivering in lengthy time-consuming large product versions, which more-often than not don’t solve the end-user’s initial issue because users were not involved throughout. This design-led, agile, joined-up approach allows us to provide users with a better solution as quickly as we can build.
We have also built our platform to enable us to plug-in and use other companies’ tools. Instead of recreating the wheel and spending time and effort building a specific feature, we can instead incorporate best-in-class products more quickly to provide a solution to our end-users needs for specific features, such as integrated access to third party data sources.
What do you think the sector can do to better protect the mental health of those working within it moving forwards?
In addition to providing good support mechanisms, we believe it is important to build a culture in organisations that is open, transparent, and inclusive, which therefore encourages support for individuals working in the sector. It’s also essential to create a flexible working environment that can adapt to their needs, including working patterns, support, personal development, and undoubtably, outstanding tools to help do jobs with less hassle.
How do you see the 2022/2023 wills and probate market shaping up?
The coming year is going to be a challenging time for the sector, with a range of external factors including inflation, changing working patterns, ongoing macro-economic factors that will influence the wellbeing of employees and the stress faced by clients. In addition to this, we are going to see more changes in the coming year from a legislative and technology perspective, with recent trends to a more digitised probate process continuing.
We will see customer demand for quality of service continue to increase. Whilst expectations on costs will drive some earnings down. We envisage the temporary rise of poor DIY self-service products posing a threat to the reputation of the market, with a lack of knowledge of the process causing increased difficulty and stress to the bereaved.
Perhaps most importantly, we’re going to see the continuing rise of ‘modern estates’. With increased fragmentation of people’s lives and estates, cases will become more taxing and lengthier for probate professionals. These factors have the potential to cause undue stress on the bereaved and the legal professional managing the case.
LegalTech adoption has been slower than in other sectors and arguably led by property, but to cope with the factors above and increasing competition we see the adoption of technology accelerating further too.
What made you support Customer Service Champion, and what is your message to its entrants?
When we were setting up Exizent we spoke to many working in probate and estate administration. One of the key resonating messages was a desire to spend more time doing a great job for clients. Sponsoring the Customer Service Champion Award is therefore perfect for us as it matches well with this and the purpose we have, so we’re delighted that British Wills and Probate Awards have created this new category to celebrate and recognise those who are going above and beyond for their clients.
Providing excellence legal advice at a time of emotional difficulty is the reason we’re all here and we look forward to seeing some fantastic submissions, showcasing the amazing work the industry is doing. Sponsoring this award category is a fabulous way to demonstrate our belief in the work the industry does and ultimately, the difference we can all make to clients.
What have been Exizent’s biggest achievements this year?
This has been a very exciting year for Exizent as we continue to grow our business. The latest developments of our legal services platform have seen the introduction of our automatic population of Court and Inheritance Tax forms, allowing users to create/re-generate forms from their case data, at the click of a button – including IHT400 schedules which automatically complete their main IHT400 form including calculations.
We’ve released a whole range of enhancements based on feedback from our users to software, and also recently implemented our Estate Accounts feature into beta testing. A large piece of work, the goal before we generally release being to produce Estate Accounts in line with STEP standards, drawing upon case information and the post-death income and expenses logged in the system, within minutes.
We’ve loved the fantastic engagement from our Research Community, a panel of experts who are passionate about influencing and transforming the industry just like us, including Exizent users and non-users. The community provide us invaluable feedback and input into design and functionality of these new features.
What would Exizent like to be known for the most?
We want to be known for transforming the bereavement process and improving the experience for everyone involved in estate administration, through enabling our users to work more efficiently and effectively ensuring a fantastic customer experience to their clients.
Thank you to Exizent for their support for The British Wills & Probate Awards 2022.
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