Mike Davis is building a purpose led, consumer-focused legal tech company aiming to disrupt the estate administration industry. He’s sharing his view on the estate administration industry in its current form and how he wants to change it for the better. This was originally posted on LinkedIn.
Problems & Solutions
I’ve always marvelled at new technologies and how much impact they can have on us and the world around us - but thinking about how it could change things in the future is what really excites me. I believe that there is a technological solution to every problem, and most of the time it’s sitting right under our noses.
I’ve spent years sifting through solicitors' case files after they’ve finished winding up peoples’ estates (commonly referred to as ‘probate’) for the purpose of setting a fee for them to charge their clients. I find it pretty amazing that vast swathes of the legal industry still haven't evolved past word processing and email; meaning they compile bulky files full of letters sent and received alongside hastily scribbled down notes documenting extensive and important meetings with their clients. It’s all still pretty manual - it’s inefficient and there’s an unacceptably high risk of making errors.
There have been some technological developments in recent years in a few areas like conveyancing and setting up a business, but very little in the world of probate.
By the end of summer 2018, I knew I had to act but I just couldn’t work out how. There are other companies making boring case management systems, and my own experience in the auditing business had taught me that trying to get profitable lawyers to change their ways is extremely difficult, so a straight up B2B service was a total non-starter.
So where is the real pain? Their clients’ experiences!
People are being absolutely shafted at one of the most difficult times in their lives. Very few people consider their own mortality, let alone that of their loved ones. This means that at the worst possible time they are confronted with a surprise mess and only a mysterious and archaic process that will be able to tidy it up. Thankfully, the government is trying to do something about the archaic part, in England & Wales at least.
In this stressful and emotional time, the majority of people instantly turn to the professionals. But as the average age of the person dealing with this comes down, an increasing number are now turning to Google in the hope of finding another way that doesn’t involve giving away obscene amounts of their inheritance for what can usually be a reasonably straightforward admin exercise. Unfortunately, their online searches are met with simplified articles or 80-page e-books. Only super-simple cases or the most determined and principled people make it to the end without expensive professional help.
I want to empower people by demystifying the process and providing the necessary tools so they can make better choices about the level of participation they want to have. I’ll show people what they can do themselves and what they might need a little help with from a solicitor.
I must admit, in my younger years reading about Richard Branson and Duncan Bannatyne, imagining what I might end up doing one day, I didn’t think for a second I would end up in ‘DeathTech’. But apparently, that’s where I am!