Settify – Wills lawyers enlist tech to serve rising client demand during self-isolation
Growing concern over the Coronavirus has prompted a surge in people wishing to make or change their wills. Coming at a time when lawyers are moving out of their offices to self-isolate, the rising demand is being served by a cadre of tech-enabled lawyers.
Early warnings about Coronavirus have already led to a 20% spike in enquiries, according to Anna Hacker, national manager of estate planning with Australian Unity Trustees.
Settify is amongst a raft of online technologies that were popular before the virus, but are now becoming vital. An Australian invention that is used by nearly 250 law firms worldwide, Settify is an interactive system that can be accessed from a firm’s website or by emails sent to new clients. It uses Artificial Intelligence to ‘interview’ clients online, prompting them to consider their estate planning decisions, and compiling a brief of information for lawyers, who can then prepare a draft will before the first conversation with the client.
Traditional in-person follow-up meetings, where lawyers and clients finalise documents, are being replaced by Skype, Zoom and FaceTime video calls. Online appointment booking, secure document sharing platforms, and digital signing are also being put to use.
And as legislators struggle to keep pace with the changing landscape, moves are afoot in most states and territories to allow for remote witnessing of wills and powers of attorney during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, these documents must be witnessed in person in order to be valid.
Teresa Kearney of McLaughlins Lawyers on the Gold Coast said “because of the pandemic and the social distancing requirements of our federal and state governments and the fact that people may urgently need a will when they must legally isolate themselves, there are now special rules to allow signing with only 1 witness or no witness in these exceptional circumstances only.
In a procedure approved through our Queensland Law Society and the professional indemnity insurer we can prepare your will and send a copy to you with a letter of instructions and checklist electronically.”
About Settify: Settify is a legal tech company aiding law firms with engaging new clients online, by providing advanced technology solutions to support estate planning and family law practices. Clients engage with interactive, conversational online systems, helping them to understand where they stand, the issues they’ll face and how their lawyers can assist. Launched in 2017, Settify has been adopted by 250+ firms around Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. To date, clients with legal matters worth over $44bn in aggregate have commenced their legal journeys via Settify. Settify has received multiple awards, including the Law Institute “Innovation Award” in both 2017 and 2018. It is their belief that technology will improve the power, efficiency and effectiveness of legal services. Their core philosophy is that the relationship of trust between lawyers and clients will always be paramount.
McLaughlins Lawyers are with you and your family especially now in difficult times, helping with emergency measures. We have been preparing succession plans for Queenslanders and helping with deceased estates for over 60 years. Email [email protected] or Call Teresa Kearney or Dianne Ball on 07 5591 5099 for help.
McLaughlins Lawyers, your experienced Gold Coast lawyers, we stand beside you and help out with practical advice and safe ways to look after you and your loved ones.
Author: Teresa Kearney
Director: Ian Kennedy
Date: 6 April 2020