Founded in July 2020 by Nithila Murugadas and Kavina Nagrani, NIKA LAW LLP specializes in estates—both estate litigation and estate planning—as well as elder law. As a result, they frequently assist clients who are looking to protect their legacy, probate an estate, contest guardianships, and challenge wills.
“We see everything from insolvent estates to estates worth tens of millions of dollars,” Nick André, associate at NIKA LAW, says. “We don't turn people away based on the size of the estate. We believe in access to justice for all.”
With lawyers working remotely and clients needing access to files, NIKA LAW knew they required a cloud-based file administration system. Further, as a new firm with a modern philosophy, they strive to be as paperless as possible and at the leading edge of practice-management efficiencies. Previously, they used desktop applications where client files and data were saved locally, putting the firm at risk of information being inadvertently lost or deleted.
NIKA LAW's main priorities included finding a system that was:
- Securely backed-up
- Accessible remotely
A cloud-based system would address each of those priorities, but the founders at NIKA LAW had difficulty finding an acceptable solution.
At the time, Estateably was in beta testing, and a post on LinkedIn about Estateably's web-based administration platform caught NIKA's notice. After researching other solutions, Nithila and Kavina met with Estateably's team for a software demonstration.
Estateably's features impressed them, but it was the program's modern design combined with the team's knowledge of estate issues and lawyers' needs that convinced them to test the platform.
The firm decided to be part of Estateably's beta testing, taking the opportunity to give their feedback on the system—both what they liked and what they thought could be improved to better meet their needs and the needs of other estate lawyers and clerks working in the field.
“Participating in the beta testing was great because we were able to give real-time feedback and see that feedback addressed quickly as the developers integrated changes and fixes into the platform,” Nithila says.
With Estateably, NIKA LAW's team can securely and quickly access their files no matter where they're working from. They can also virtually present file information to their clients, ensuring everyone is up-to-date on that status of a matter. Clients have the ability to access their own files so they can stay informed, encouraging efficient documentation and collaboration.
NIKA LAW's previous system was too rigid for their needs. Because it was analog, there was a great deal of repetitive data entry. When issues arose, time would be lost troubleshooting, but it was impossible to move the file forward until those matters were addressed. Nithila says Estateably has a very responsive and knowledgeable team, so they can quickly answer questions and provide support, saving her and the NIKA LAW team valuable time.
Among other benefits of Estateably:
- Automation of labour-intensive processes, such as automatically generating files, letters, and forms
- Embedded, customizable workflows
- Easy accounting report creation
NIKA LAW's clients benefit as well—with lawyers spending less time on data entry, and clients able to input data themselves, estates save money that would otherwise be paid in legal fees. Costs are streamlined, maximizing eventual distributions to beneficiaries.
“We have some very competent estate trustees who are more familiar with the data than we are, who are able to take on the sometimes cumbersome data-entry tasks on a file,” Nithila says. “Estateably has the unique option of giving clients an account and access to their file so they can actually assist and take on the non-legal tasks, leaving us to analyse the data, which is where we add the most value and ultimately saves the estate costs.”
By facilitating client communication and collaboration, Estateably makes the process more transparent. Clients also have a clearer understanding of their files.
“With Estateably, estate accounting and other reports have become easy for clients to understand,” Nick says. “They are straightforward and formatted intuitively. For example, when meeting with an Estate Trustee to explain how their compensation figure was derived, it is easier to walk them through the data, which makes for a smoother meeting.”
As a result, client satisfaction has increased since NIKA LAW began using Estateably.
“Estateably's cloud-based platform enables us to continue building a paperless firm that maximizes value for our clients, regardless of their size. The team is knowledgeable and responsive, which gives us the peace of mind and time to focus on helping our clients.”
- Nithila Murugadas, Partner, NIKA LAW LLP
The time savings are vital for NIKA LAW, as well. Streamlined workflows save time and resources typically required for file-related duties, such as preparing applications and affidavits to full court-formatted accountings. With less time spent on each file, the team is freed-up to focus on new files and grow the firm.
Regulatory compliance is a priority at Estateably, which stays on top of new provisions and legislations that impact estate law. Changes are then quickly implemented into the system.
“In the practice of wills and estates, the law is constantly evolving and so is the procedure,” Nick says. “It is sometimes difficult to keep up to date with the various practice directions and court forms, but working with Estateably has been great because they are keeping the software up to date and integrating the most recent court forms in a timely manner.”
Although Estateably's features are a huge draw for NIKA LAW, it's the customer service that they say they value the most.
“We hadn't thought about customer service as anything to consider when we went into this,” Nithila says. “Their team has been incredibly responsive and very quick to troubleshoot any issues, even at the very beginning. They are clearly motivated to keep their customers happy and to implement changes and fixes quickly, giving their customers the best experience one could hope for.”
Founded in 2018, Estateably develops cloud-based solutions for North American trust and estate practitioners. Its flagship product is a workflow and productivity tool that helps streamline estate administration by automating the filling of probate court forms and precedent letters, simplifying input of estate inventory and accounting, and enabling one-click reporting to estate stakeholders. Since its launch in January 2021, the platform is powering more than 500 firms' estate and trust administration practices.