08 February 2023LawtechUK

Lawtech Sandbox Diaries: LiV

We spoke to founder, Teresa Castilla, about LiV's Lawtech Sandbox experience, what they learnt and life after the programme.

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The probate process is not often straightforward making Banks susceptible to fines if they fail to process the accounts and investments of deceased customers effectively. But it can be difficult to determine what a deceased person owns, what assets they have and where they are.

Teresa Castilla, the founder of LiV–an online platform making financial and estate planning easy for anyone– worked for Santander when they were fined £32.8 million by the FCA for serious failures in their probate and bereavement process. This inspired her to develop an alternative estate planning platform.

Having built and developed an MVP (minimum viable product) in 2021, Castilla applied to the Lawtech Sandbox the following year.

What LiV gained from the Lawtech Sandbox

  • Access to regulators

  • Built legal user feedback groups

  • Networking opportunities with legal markets

  • Developed a targeted roadmap

Castilla joined the Lawtech Sandbox to consult regulators and lawyers about LiV’s new app features. “Our original MVP provided will writing services, which are relatively straightforward. But our new features use advanced algorithms and blockchain to provide better, more personal advice without involving a human advisor.” explains Castilla. “Before adding them to our platform, we wanted to make sure that the new features wouldn’t get us fined, or sued by a customer.”

The Sandbox also presented opportunities for Castilla to build connections in the lawtech space. “Because my background is in banking, I didn’t have the same connections as other Lawtech start-ups. It has been so helpful connecting with lawyers and regulators,” she says. “Now, if I have further questions, I can refer back to them.”

Castilla was matched with Lawtech Sandbox mentor Martin Balaam, tech entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of Pimberly. “We have had mentors in the past, but none of them had experience in entrepreneurship. This time the advice was from a different perspective, from someone who has gone through similar challenges. It has been extremely useful having someone who understands our obstacles and gives guidance on how to overcome them.” said Castilla.

The Sandbox experience helped to shape LiV’s strategy going forward. “As well as helping us develop our platform, the Sandbox helped us understand the path to innovation in a more structured way. For instance, we became aware of different Government programmes that support innovation.”

Since the Lawtech Sandbox

The LiV team are adjusting their MVP to incorporate the advice received on the Lawtech Sandbox and make sure the platform meets all regulatory requirements before launching the platform in the UK. “The Sandbox was the perfect place to get feedback from the regulators and iron out any teething problems.” Castilla says. “LawtechUK gave us access to key people and regulators, and their engagement and support provided reassurance and validation,”

Castilla also valued spending time with other Sandbox participants. “We say we are a lawtech project, but LiV touches several different industries, and it was great to meet other start-ups in the same position. We felt even more supported by discussing shared experiences and challenges.”

Seperate to LiV, Castilla continues to work with regulators on emerging asset classes like cryptocurrency – and managing/verifying this type of legacy. Right now, although it is possible to bequeath a cryptocurrency wallet, 20% of crypto legacies remain unclaimed. “Regulators need to provide clarification around these investments, understand the tax situation on asset classes that have not been through anti-money-laundering and other checks, for example.”

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