Estate settlement can be an arduous process, both emotionally and practically. There are typically over 120 tasks to complete in the 6-24 month period after the death. Some tasks are urgent, some need to be done at specific times, and some can lead to personal liability or lawsuits if not done correctly. Few of us are knowledgeable about estate settlement prior to beginning the process, and it all comes at a time when we are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Funeral homes are uniquely positioned to educate and support families through the estate settlement process. However, it is unrealistic for most funeral homes to offer this support themselves because your team is already at capacity supporting more immediate needs. Finding a partner for Estate Management— a term that encompasses both estate planning and settlement efforts— means your funeral home can focus on what you do best, while extending the impact you have on families and the community.
For a long time the only options were to provide generic paper checklists or refer people to an expensive professional who can only support part of the process. Fortunately, there are a number of new ways to support your clients. Finding the right Estate Management partner is crucial to elevating your service while maintaining confidence in the quality standards. Every offering is an extension of your brand and can impact your reputation.
In this blog post, we will explore some key considerations and provide some practical advice to ensure that you make an informed decision about which partner will be right for you. Choosing the best estate management partner for your funeral home will ultimately help you provide outstanding service to each and every one of your grieving clients.
There are 5 essential factors to consider when choosing an Estate Management partner. We outline each of them below in order to help with your decision.
No two estates are the same: a solution that walks through the few elements that will ring true for every single estate is not providing enough value to your clients. The best solution is a fully personalized solution to the estate’s needs. Generic online tools or paper checklists can provide a decent framework, but lack the depth of specific tasks that many digital solutions provide. As mentioned above, there are on average 120 tasks to settle an estate, in addition to what is required in the will. With that in mind, every task formed by the estate management partner should be relevant to that particular estate.
The best tools are able to provide guidance across the entire settlement journey, rather than just select portions of it. Thorough and all-encompassing solutions serve your clients better than a one-size-fits-all, overview style solution. This is because the smallest of details can alter the whole process. For example, the difference between owning versus renting a property can make one’s estate planning and settlement process vastly different. The ideal Estate Management solution adapts to any situation and is able to provide clarity to users on how to complete tasks and in what order, down to what specific URLs they need to click to download paperwork.
Because the solution will act as an extension of your brand, it is important to know what the end-user flow looks like. If a solution offers additional value for purchase then that can be acceptable, but you need to know what is included and what isn’t. If the user experience is to be consistently prompted to pay more money then it may not have the impact you would like it to. The other aspect to consider is the level of support provided; how and when families can reach their support team (if one exists) and what they can ask. Through your chosen estate management partner, you should be able to elevate service impactfully, yet indirectly.
A funeral home influences some of the most intimate and difficult processes of a person’s life— your estate management partner should care for your clients just as delicately and compassionately as you do. If the tool isn’t an extension of your level of care then it likely isn’t the right partner.
While you may be making this decision with the client experience as your priority, you should also consider the impact on your funeral home. Generating online reviews, receiving feedback, and earning pre-need clients are all part of the benefits to offering a best-in-class tool. The right partner should leave an impression on clients that centers around how you, the funeral professional who offered you the estate management solution, made them feel.
Funeral homes have a unique opportunity to support their clients with an Estate Management solution. Choosing the right solution will ultimately help your funeral home continue to adapt to consumer preferences and help you use technology to differentiate.
Cadence was designed with the 5 key factors above in mind. Ultimately our goal is to help funeral homes and other professionals extend their service offering and build incredible client connections. If you’d like to book a demo to see if Cadence checks all of your estate management boxes, you can do so here.