By Legal Futures Associate Arken.legal
Arken.legal, the UK’s leading provider of expert digital solutions for the private client and estate planning industry, has today announced its partnership with Comentis, a new technology provider that helps legal professionals identify reduced mental capacity.
Comentis’ unique software – the Cognitive Assessment Engine (CAE) – combines the latest technological advances with clinical expertise from a renowned team of mental health and psychology specialists led by Tim Farmer, to provide objective and consistent mental capacity assessments to legal services firms. The CAE is the first product in the legal market to combine digital and clinical expertise to produce an accessible and cost-effective platform, and will ensure Arken’s users don’t miss the critical signs of reduced mental capacity in clients.
Comentis’ mental capacity assessment engine will be incorporated into Arken’s existing will-writing software to facilitate the assessment process for legal professionals working with private clients. The exclusive integration is only available to Arken.legal customers, enabling them to provide their clients, and the beneficiaries of their will with an objective, dignified mental assessment, and peace of mind for all involved that the will and the related legal implications have been appropriately communicated and understood. Fundamentally, it mitigates the risk of a situation where vulnerabilities go unseen.
In recent years, the need for enhanced due diligence for legal professionals when assessing at-risk individuals has been highlighted. When assessing testamentary capacity during the will writing process, legal practitioners refer to the criteria outlined in Banks V Goodfellow (1870). However, capacity is nuanced, and it’s important each assessment considers an individual’s unique circumstances whilst maintaining consistency. Legal professionals will also need to submit evidence that due diligence and process was followed if they are ever challenged at a later date, and Comentis’ audit trail enables them to do this.
Jonathan Barrett, Co-Founder & CEO of Comentis, comments:
“This partnership represents a landmark moment for the legal sector, and we’re really pleased to be partnering with Arken to support legal practitioners in their work with private clients. It has been clear that assessments of mental capacity have been a challenge for the sector. However, progress is being made and technology can improve the process, particularly post-pandemic, when many assessments are being conducted virtually.
“Comentis’ new Cognitive Assessment Engine will make life easier for legal professionals providing them with a more robust and immediate process for assessing testamentary capacity that helps to protect them from future litigation.”
Tim Farmer, Co-Founder & Clinical Director of Comentis, said:
“I am a firm believer that upholding and protecting the rights of the individual should always be at the centre of mental capacity assessment. This integration between Comentis and Arken.legal is a fine example of how technology can ensure this is achieved – ensuring the dignity of the person being checked is never compromised and that the checks are being performed consistently, in line with pre-agreed standards.”
Dave Newick, CEO at Arken.legal, comments:
“At Arken.legal we are wholly committed to understanding how technology can improve the bereavement landscape and all of the processes that come with estate planning. Assessing reduced mental capacity has always been a challenge for the legal services sector, and estate planners and will writers have to ensure that customers are capable of making major life decisions with no other elements at play. Despite being thorough, this is an additional labour on top of an already unyielding workload, and without uniformity across the sector or a clinical understanding of how to identify these individuals, it can be a difficult task. However, Comentis’ Cognitive Assessment Engine will ensure that these challenges are a thing of the past and combining the tech capabilities of both our brands will improve the risk assessment process for legal firms.”