At Advivo we are always looking for ways to do things better. In our Estate Planning area, we recently started using a new software called Yodal to manage the legal side of the process. Yodal allows our clients to use their solicitor of choice, via the Yodal platform, and through their accountant, create or review their estate planning documents.
Given this is something new, we wanted to make sure it worked. Fortunately at that stage Yodal was in final testing and I was privileged to be asked by Yodal to participate and provide feedback on the process.
Dale Edwards, Partner at Advivo test drives Estate Planning tool, Yodal:
My wife and I had done our estate planning 2-3 years ago and although we’ve had another child since then, there hadn’t been any major changes to our circumstances that we perceived would require a change to our current estate plan. I was interested to see what Yodal would tell us.
Points of note:
- It was easy;
- In spite of having done the estate plan only 2-3 years before, there were still things that needed to be updated in our estate plan due to using a generalist solicitor previously rather than an estate planning specialist;
- Minimal dealing with solicitors who may not be as familiar with your affairs;
- Mostly dealing with your accountant to project manage the exercise, who you probably know and trust, and would most likely have a greater understanding of your structures and affairs;
- Your Accountant is not providing legal sign-off, Yodal and the solicitors are, but the accountant helps make it happen and ensures accuracy around the structures and control etc.;
- Use estate planning specialists to get it right;
- Easy-to-know fixed cost structure and potential lower cost;
- Incorporating your accountant in the process makes it less likely that anything gets missed due to their familiarity with your structures and assets.
Read on for more information on my experience with Yodal
It starts with an initial data input of names, emails, mobile numbers, and date of birth for the person (and their spouse/partner) if required. That was easy, I knew all that stuff! After this, I was sent the Yodal Terms and Conditions via text message to review and accept. Accepting was as easy as a reply to the message. My wife also received this as well to accept. She wasn’t missing out on getting to test this new tool.
After this, there was some more data input that my accountant (yes I know that is me) took care of. The beauty of Yodal is that much of the boring work can be done by your accountant as they already have much of the most relevant information. My accountant was then able to push out an email to me with a link to a Yodal questionnaire that had been mostly filled in by them. We just had to fill in the areas they were less sure about (e.g. who we wanted as executors and beneficiaries of our estate, who we wanted our Superannuation to go to, if we had any special requirements for our bodies after death).
In a situation with a real client, and not myself, the next step would be a fairly short meeting to run through the information and check that it all appears to be correct, ask the accountant any questions, and then the accountant submits the application within Yodal. You are able to pick the lawyers who your planning goes to from a panel available on Yodal. If your lawyers aren’t on the panel already there is the ability to invite them to join. When submitting the application there is a short Wizard that the accountant runs through and then you are presented with a menu of the documents that Yodal believes you require, along with the cost of these. One of the good things about Yodal is that there is transparency on what you pay. It is fairly easy for your accountant to determine what the likely cost will be for your estate planning. Because the software takes away a lot of the data entry and data collection work that solicitors would normally have to do, Accountants are able to minimise their time and fix their cost for preparing an estate plan. This means you have certainty and can save dollars. We’ve seen scenarios where clients with complex structures who would normally pay $8,000 – $10,000 can pay under $5,000 using Yodal, including the necessary time for your accountant.
So we looked at the menu of documents that Yodal suggested we need and proceeded to pay for these via credit card. We were then presented with a draft version of these documents that we could look at immediately and the information was submitted to the solicitor we had selected. We had draft estate planning documents and we hadn’t even had to deal with a solicitor yet. How good is that? The solicitor then contacted us to run through what we had provided. We did a GoToMeeting session with the solicitor which was more convenient than having to visit their office, and in that session we ran through the documents making minor edits to ensure everything was correct.
This process still has this human oversight to ensure that the documents created are the right ones for you.
After this we received an email with an updated version of the documents for final perusal before signing. We had a look through these and caught up with the solicitor in person for the final sign-off of all of the documents. This was the first and only time we needed to see a solicitor in the whole process and we have comfort in the knowledge, that our accountant, solicitor and estate planning specialist have had their input in our final estate plan
If you’d like to find out more about getting your estate plan done or reviewed please contact us at Advivo to make it happen. Don’t put it off and leave a disaster for your loved ones.