Estatesearch are honoured to have been shortlisted for the third year in the British Wills & Probate Awards. This “Best Use of Technology” listing recognises Estatesearch’s endeavours to deliver technology-led solutions to clients, providing an efficient and effective due diligence process.
What is the award?
‘Best Use of Technology’ is awarded to a firm or legal supplier who has shown great initiative by implementing technology that enhances efficiency, productivity and effectiveness of their business, or has demonstrated how their technology has delivered an exceptional customer experience. To be considered for this award these criteria must be met:
- Implemented technology in a way that has created a competitive advantage within the previous 12 months.
- Shown originality in the delivery of the technology or how it has enhanced their business.
- Demonstrated strong teamwork and cooperation in the introduction and use of the initiative.
Why were we shortlisted?
Since winning the Best Use of Technology Award in 2020, Estatesearch has spent the last twelve months implementing new technology in original ways, refining our existing services, and delivering new products.
Improvements to the Estatesearch Portal and Services
As the demand for our award-winning Asset and Liability search has increased, our custom-built processing engine draws on a variety of technologies to allow for an automated internal mail system. This has allowed us to reduce administrative time by up to 80% and improve accuracy.
The COVID-19 pandemic created the challenge of signing physical letters. The creation of an automated process has allowed clients to generate the Letter of Authority that is required for our search, including case details and an appropriate signature. This efficient electronic alternative has reduced error rates and administrative time for both us and our clients. The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) protocol has enabled our clients to use a single set of credentials, passing securely from their system directly into ours. This has allowed for greater integration, security and ownership of user access.
- The Overseas Bankruptcy Searches are now available on our portal with live pricing and instant quotations, turn-around and data requirements, while removing the need for email correspondence.
- Our Unoccupied Property Insurance is now available to add to matters in our portal, the key benefit being that there is no requirement for regular property inspections. We are currently beta testing the instant quotation facility in our portal, allowing you to arrange cover in real-time.
- The Automated Property and Car Valuations now allows clients to obtain instant property and car valuations at the date of death/appointment for an efficient and cost-effective appraisal based on data from Rightmove and Cazana.
Estatesearch and Probate Admin Integration
In June, Estatesearch launched our latest integration with cloud-based estate accounts software provider, Probate Admin. By combining the knowledge and expertise of both businesses, our clients are now able to undertake comprehensive estate due diligence with the details of all identified accounts securely transferred in real-time into the software platform.
Project BSA (Artificial Intelligence)
Estatesearch successfully secured co-funding from Innovate UK to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning tool. We believe that is the first time AI technology has been utilised for estate administration. Our ‘Bank Statement Analysis’ tool uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to recognise and ingest data from the bank statement of a data subject. Rules can then be applied to recognise unusual use of the funds, such as gifted sums, all presented in a report that can then be presented to HMRC. This lessens your reliance on a detailed manual investigation of the deceased’s paperwork to understand their financial affairs.
BSA is in beta testing for the application of the rules. We would welcome details of your own experience of use/misuse of historic bank records to help tailor the product to your needs.
Why do we deserve this award?
Every innovation we have made over the last 12 months is the product of extensive teamwork and collaboration. Our Client Services team collected requirements from clients, prioritised with our Product Manager, before working with developers to implement an effective end-to-end solution. These changes have advanced our business and afforded us a competitive advantage. Automation and integration has created an efficient seamless process for an excellent customer experience, by reducing administrative costs for us and our clients.
Integration of Estatesearch and Probate Admin has allowed us to extend the spectrum of services that we can offer clients as well as laying the foundation for further integration. This integration has allowed us to retain our core business model of ‘pay-per-click’, rather than the requirement that clients pay a subscription.
Our collaboration with UK Innovate represents an original use of OCR and is the first real example of AI being used in estate administration. Combining AI and Machine Learning has allowed us to deliver a more efficient, accurate process that minimises error and reduces administration. This method offers a significant advantage over traditional methods for us, our clients, and ultimately the end consumers.
When will we know if we have been successful in our shortlisting?
The award winner will be announced Thursday the 21st of October at the British Wills and Probate Awards Hybrid Ceremony in Birmingham. For those that cannot make it in person, the event will be live-streamed. While we remain hopeful of winning, we recognise that the changes made over the last 12 months at Estatesearch have improved the due diligence process for our clients and, regardless of the outcome, this will remain our aim.