Tag Archives: legal practice management software
The lower earning spouse in a divorce can’t afford to wait out a long legal process to get spousal maintenance. For this reason New York State spousal support law includes a quick and easy calculation to determine temporary support until the final amount can be determined. This amount is not carved in stone and a court can modify the award to more accurately reflect the couple’s financial situation.
The Problem with Going to Court
The New York temporary maintenance formulas are based only on each couple’s income. While this makes a decent first approximation, our finances are defined by more than our paychecks. The Statement of Net Worth in New York divorces contains far more information and may show that the amount that comes from the maintenance calculation is unfair. The law specifically allows the amount to be changed for reasons ranging from a spouse’s health to the couple’s living arrangements to the need to care for elderly parents.
Either spouse can object and take the matter before a judge but going to court is a last resort in divorce cases. Nobody can predict how a judge will rule. For example an attorney seeking a higher maintenance amount might find the judge rules the amount should actually be lowered based on a broader view of the couple’s finances. Family law attorneys prefer to settle these matters out of court if possible.
The Art of Negotiation
Often both sides feel the temporary calculation is wrong. The payor thinks it’s too high and the recipient thinks it’s too low. Each side can bicker about it but that’s not productive. Attorneys know they need more than hand-waving arguments to convince the other side so they turn to New York matrimonial law net worth software to provide evidence backing up their claims.
Family law attorneys can prepare multiple support scenarios in the New York divorce software taking into account factors such each spouse’s lifestyles, earning capacity, age and health. They can adjust the amounts for unusual factors. For example if one spouse needs to go back to school to become employable after a long period of being absent from the work force, it might be appropriate to raise the maintenance amount. They can examine the tax implications of different scenarios sometimes finding solutions that are better for both sides.
Negotiation tends to favor the side with better documentation. Use legal practice management software to back up your arguments with hard facts and increase the chance of a favorable temporary maintenance settlement for your client.
Are you one of those rich attorneys who lights his cigars with $100 bills? Probably not unless you live in a cartoon. Real life attorneys know better than to waste money on something that ridiculous and yet a shocking number of practices are doing exactly that by not making full use of their attorney time and billing software to maximize billable hours.
The more time you spend practicing law, the more effective you are as an attorney. Every lawyer has to deal with administrative details but you still have to make every effort to minimize the time you spend on supporting tasks or you are just an expensive legal assistant. Wrestling with outdated manual billing systems or cumbersome financial software that isn’t designed to handle the needs of the modern legal practice are examples of wasted time.
Dedicated time and billing software for lawyers like Easy TimeBill minimizes the amount of time you squander. Entering expenses and billable hours for each matter you handle is easy and intuitive. Generate invoices and late-payment reminders with the click of a button. The integrated productivity features like the to-do list and calendar help you organize your day and maximize your efficiency.
Some lawyers have the luxury of doing all their work in an office but most attorneys have to be in court or other locations at least part of the day. You need to note any incurred hours and expenses in your legal billing and accounting software but that’s hard to do with traditional products. Instead you scribble notes on pieces of paper and, assuming you don’t lose them, you have to remember to enter the information into the billing system when you get back to the office.
If you use cloud-based time and billing software then you have access to your billing system from any computer and in any location that has an internet connection. Many public areas such as courthouses have public Wi-Fi, or your office might invest in a mobile plan that gives you internet access from anywhere you have cell phone coverage. With a cloud-based system you enter expenses as they occur so you won’t forget.
Lost time is lost money. Don’t use out-date or non-optimized systems to track your hours and expenses. Take advantage of the latest generation of legal practice management software to maximize your practice’s profitability.
Alimony buyout has a number of financial advantages, not to mention it allows both spouses to move on rather than being reminded of the failed relationship by the monthly check. Divorce software for attorneys can come up with the monthly alimony but how do you figure out a fair buyout. There are two choices: do it yourself or hire an accountant.
Do It Yourself
How hard could it be to figure out? If divorce software calculates alimony to be $1,500 per month for 60 months then the buyout should be ($1,500) x (60) = $90,000, right?
The problem is that a dollar is not a dollar. A 2013 dollar doesn’t have the same value as a 2018 dollar so the buyout needs to be adjusted by inflation. Not to mention that the recipient isn’t going to simply put the money in a mattress. Investment will cause that $90,000 to grow to a much higher number. And there are the tax implications, especially if the two parties are in different tax brackets.
Hire An Accountant
Calculation of the buyout isn’t a simple arithmetic problem so maybe we need to bring in an expert. Divorces are basically financial transactions to most family law attorneys have an accountant or two on their contact lists. Pull the couples’ financial information out of the family law software and this should be an easy task for an experienced accountant.
Of course the problem is experienced professionals are expensive professionals. That easy task will probably carry a stiff price tag. This won’t cost you anything since you’ll pass that cost onto your client, but is that fair? Your client has enough financial problems going through a divorce without adding unnecessary expenses.
What other choice do you have?
The Hidden Third Option
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: computers are really good at math.
Divorce Financials, Easy Soft’s divorce settlement software, includes an alimony buyout calculator that knows all about inflation and investment and taxes. You simply enter the alimony amount and duration. It calculates the marginal tax rate based on the spouses’ incomes, and even can adjust for the possibility that alimony might not continue through its entire term. You get the expertise of a family law accountant for free.
Try it for yourself. Download a demo of Divorce Financials and use information from one of your divorce cases. You’ll see how Easy Soft legal practice management software takes complicated transactions and makes them simple.
An important case might involve several attorneys, each handling a specialized component of the matter. Each of those attorneys is supported by paralegals, secretaries, accountants and others. How can you easily and accurately account for all those people in your legal billing and accounting software?
Manual time tracking nightmare
Trying to track all this information manually is a nightmare. Each person has to account for time and then yet another person has to enter that time into the software. If anyone incurs expenses then you have another list of charges that have to be tracked individually and then entered by a third party.
Specialized attorney time and billing software
A better option is to use specialized attorney time and billing software like Easy TimeBill that includes simultaneous, multi-user access. Each biller can access the accounting system no matter how many others are entering information at the same time. By requiring attorneys and other staff to keep track of time themselves you reduce the chance of data entry errors.
Cloud or desktop versions
A centralized desktop solution allows each person to enter information that is kept in a centralized database. Cloud-based time and billing software for lawyers takes the flexibility to new levels, allowing attorneys to enter information from home, from court, from a meeting or anywhere else. Imagine how much easier it is to track expenses when an attorney can enter the amount as the money is spent, right from an iPad or Android tablet.
Solo practitioner billing
If you are a solo practitioner, then you might think you don’t need multi-user access but we’re willing to bet you aren’t the only person handling your files. Do you have an assistant or secretary? Do you have a tax accountant who looks at your books? Do you access the software from different computers at home and at work? Then you need versatile time and billing software that makes it easy to track your financials.
Permissions to confidential information
One concern over giving everyone in the firm access to the billing is that someone might see confidential information or do something better left to a more qualified worker. However that’s not a problem with Easy TimeBill. Use permissions to limit what each user can do so you don’t have to worry about a secretary who is just supposed to be printing invoices deciding to change the expense report.
Dedicated legal practice management software makes your professional life easier, not harder. Download a demo of Easy TimeBill or try it free for 30 days to see how easy it is to manage billing for any law office, large or small.
With prices in many areas of the country at historical lows and starting to rise, this is an ideal time for people considering the real estate market to take the plunge as an investor. However many people are justifiably concerned about the potential for disaster considering the recent trouble in the industry. It’s more important than ever that real estate investors protect their businesses by using HUD settlement statement software.
Many investors run on surprisingly thin profit margins. This is why it is essential to squeeze every penny out of a deal by either increasing revenue or cutting expenses. Revenue is hard to control–a house is worth what it is worth–but expenses can be reduced by using software such as Easy HUD to help with the HUD-1 settlement statement. Investors can process closing paperwork more quickly by using software, giving them more time to be out there hunting for the next big opportunity. They are less likely to make errors that can cause a sweet deal to fall through.
There is more to real estate accounting software than filling out forms. Easy HUD includes the optional Easy Trust module to help with escrow accounting. Investors must be careful to handle all trust funds carefully since a small mistake can lead to serious consequences, including loss of a real estate license. Investors use software to track each transaction within a trust account to ensure that funds are not getting mixed together. It may seem harmless to rob Peter’s trust funds to pay Paul’s expenses as long as the money balances in the end, but it is actually illegal and unethical do to so, even by accident.
Real estate investors have to be able to move quickly. Often the best deals aren’t found from the comfort of your office. You could be driving down the street, see an ideal property and need to jump on it right away. You can’t afford to run back to your desk to get paperwork. This is why so many investors prefer cloud-based RESPA software so they can work any time from any location as long as they have a tablet, laptop or desktop computer and an internet connection.
Investors new to the real estate market fail because they don’t do their research. Learn the practical realities of the industry, arm yourself with tools developed by one of the leading legal practice management software companies around, and be quick enough to grab a good deal when you see it. Follow that advice and you can find a lucrative career in the real estate industry.
To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer. — Bill Vaughan
One of the core features of Easy Soft’s HUD settlement statement software, Easy HUD, is the common data set. You enter information in one place and all documents generated by the program pull data from that central repository.
Enter the settlement agent’s name, address, phone number and TIN once and the HUD program automatically copies it to each new HUD 1 statement generated. Put in information on the client and the property, and the program populates the appropriate areas on the form with the case data.
The real time savings comes when you generate all the other paperwork associated with a real estate transaction. In addition to the HUD closing statement you have to produce contracts, deeds, correspondence and countless other documents. Each of these will pull information from the case data so you know the same data appears on every document produced by your office.
If that data is wrong then you are in trouble.
Computers do everything quickly: calculation, document generation, information storage…and propagation of errors. If you enter a misspelled name, a transposed property zip code or an inaccurate figure, then that information will immediately be copied to all forms. If you enter a figure ten times, then you have ten chances to make a mistake. If you enter it once then you have only one chance to mess up, but if you do then it appears wrong in ten places. This is why it is vital that you take the time to double and triple check all case information at the time of entry.
Easy HUD helps where it can. Automatic calculations ensure that the totals are right, as long as the original numbers are right. The built-in spell checker will find obvious errors but can’t tell you the client’s name is Smyth rather than Smith, and certainly can’t point out that the house sold for $248,000 and not $284,000.
Misspelling a client’s name sends the message you don’t care. Entering incorrect tax information may have the IRS knocking at your door. Whether the error is serious or merely embarrassing, it’s better off not to make the mistake in the first place. Take those extra seconds to verify information before closing a case file.
The right real estate and legal practice management software will catch more errors than it creates but computers aren’t a substitute for the human brain. Use Easy Soft products to run your business efficiently, but always use your own judgment as well.