A few firms have flirted with technological innovation, but most of the developments in Canada are coming from start-ups, institutions (i.e. incubators), and some universities. What some firms can do is leverage their name and reputation to help bring a product to market.
One example would be Hull & Hull, who not only built their name from years of practice in wills and estates over half a century, but provided free public information through their website and podcast. The podcast in particular became so popular that many estates lawyers I know routinely listen to it, even if it’s general information, to get a refresher on the law, gain perspectives from other practitioners, and learn about new developments in this area.
Two of their lawyers just launched Hull e-State Planner, an interactive software program to better streamline client data, integrate practice checklists, and ensure more accurate, interactive, and comprehensive data. Although we’ve seen a few lawyers develop wills kits geared towards the public, this is different because it’s targeted to the practitioner, leveraging the name and experience of the firm.
The online planner simplifies estates by assuming that gifts will only be of two kinds, absolute gifts with no strings attached, and trusts where the client still wants to exert some control over how the gift is distributed. This simplification was previously tested earlier this year on an app that was launched.
November also happens to be Make a Will Month for the Ontario Bar Association.