Document Automation for Estate Planning Attorneys

As an attorney running a practice in the area(s) of Estate Planning, Trust, Probate, Elder Care, Special Needs, or Guardianship, you must manage piles upon piles of documents. Managing all of these documents can be inefficient, reduce productivity, and worst of all, it takes time out of your day—time that could be better spent serving your clients.

Instead of drowning in paperwork, many attorneys are starting to use document automation software, especially in small or solo Estate Planning or Probate Law Practice. But what is document automation, and why is it so beneficial for Estate Planning and Probate attorneys?

Client and other side details are entered into a document an average of 3.8 times per document. As you know, some matters have lots of paperwork that involves entering in the same information over and over again. If you are working in a matter that involves at least 15 documents, you will enter client or another party’s information a minimum of 57 times.

Document automation can change that. It is the powerful concept of entering data once, and then having that data populate fields many times in many documents. The result is time saved, increased efficiency, and improved accuracy within the document production process.

How does document automation work?

There are three key steps to making document automation successful:

  1. Microsoft Word documents are pre-configured with merge fields inserted into the appropriate places in the document where data is usually typed.
  2. Data entered once into a database customized to the matter you are working in, including all relevant contacts, and other relevant matter information.
  3. The combination of the (1) and (2) above, allows for the population of merge fields over and over again throughout many documents.

What are the benefits of document automation?

  1. Huge time savings: less proof reading, copy and pasting, and typing.
  2. Reduce errors: reduce the risks associated with human error.
  3. Document integrity: consistent styles, clean templates, and a stable, reliable way of producing work.
  4. Ensure forms are current: all staff use the up-to-date version of the same form.

Business impacts

  1. Better client service: you can finally focus on the content, and not the formatting, layout, or structure of the document.
  2. Increased employee utilization: employees can find what they need faster, generate documents in a fraction of the time, and feel confident they’ve completed the work accurately.
  3. Quality control: document automation standardizes the documents you use most often. Now, instead of pulling up that old client letter and using find and replace to update it, you know each form, letter, or document is created fresh, using only that matter’s exact details.
  4. Higher profit margins: spending less time on client work means more money in your pocket. You choose to use the time you save on generating new business, following up on referrals, or leaving early to see your family.

So, if you’re tired of feeling like a document workhorse and want your expertise to shine through the specialty content or approach you have to a situation, let document automation build your document’s framework so you can spend time perfecting it for your client.

If you would like to learn more about how document automation can help your small law firm, watch a demo of Smokeball in action here.

About Law Technology Today

Law Technology Today
Law Technology Today is the official legal technology blog from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC). Law Technology Today provides lawyers and other legal professionals with current, practical and innovative content developed by some of the leading voices on legal technology.

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