By: 17 November 2015
Getting the right tool kit

Emma Jouhin, the sales manager at Callcredit Information Group, on using the right tools to help reunite outstanding assets

Asset reunification forms a large part of the work which legal firms engage in. With The Financial Times estimating “very conservatively” that total assets outstanding in the UK are worth over £15 billion, a substantial amount of this is in the legal sector from unclaimed estates.

Currently there are believed to be over 14,000 unclaimed estates on the government register. While there is currently no legislation dictating how firms respond to these outstanding assets, there is certainly a moral point for firms doing as much as possible to make sure individuals are reunited with the assets that they are entitled to. It is regarded as best practice to keep the value of outstanding assets to a minimum, and with the process sometimes becoming quite time-consuming and lengthy, firms need to have the right tools in place in order to reduce this and deploy resource more effectively.

As the world of technology evolves, legal firms are becoming increasingly comfortable with using a range of different solutions for their business requirements, such as case management systems, online identity verification systems and tracing tools.

Manual processes are steadily being replaced and the time and cost saving benefits are allowing firms to engage their staff in other, more cost-effective roles. When it comes to tracing, it is important for firms to improve their processes as much as possible so that reuniting assets becomes a far less time-consuming process. It is estimated by the Legal Ombudsman that delays during the wills and probate process is a cause of up to 12% of complaints made to legal firms.

Using innovative and modern tracing tools can aid in reducing the time it takes to find an owner or beneficiary, reducing the volume of complaints and enhancing the reputation of the firm in handling these cases.

It is key, when looking for a reliable tracing tool, to ensure that the technology you are using is the best on offer in order to get good match rates in a timely fashion.

Far too much time can be wasted by using tools which are not utilising all the data or search capabilities now currently available to help with tracing. Flexible searching has been a key development in this area, which legal firms will find invaluable in saving time doing duplicated searches, when the details to hand may have slight errors. This not only allows you to find matches, but also similar matches, removing the need to keep re-entering information into a tracing tool and therefore taking less time to find an individual.

In the world of wills and probate, it is highly likely that the information you have to hand may contain errors, and this may be lengthening the time it takes to find a beneficiary. This type of searching within a tracing tool will help to minimise this and reunite assets quicker.

While it is unknown as to whether legal firms, amongst others, will one day become regulated for the handling of outstanding assets, it is important for them to be doing as much as possible to keep the value and volumes of these to a minimum as much as possible, in order to ensure that they are seen as reliable to work with, and concerned in helping beneficiaries receive their due assets as quickly and effectively as possible.

Ensuring that they are using the most effective tools to help with the tracing process, will go a long way towards this.

Emma Jouhin, is the sales manager at Callcredit Information Group