There are two things that you can't avoid in life: death and taxes.
Having an estate plan helps people navigate the complex legalities surrounding the death of a loved one. It's just responsible to have one in place, and as an estate-planning attorney, you can help people ensure their loved ones are cared for when they can't do it themselves.
With an estate plan, your clients will be able to rest easy with the knowledge there is a plan in place for when they face death. Not only is it a source of comfort for your clients, but it's also sound financial planning for their whole family. If someone passes without a plan for their wealth, it may be lost to taxes or it may all go to the state.
That's why there's no time to lose when clients come to you for help creating an estate plan. Life is already short enough—your clients don't have time to lose when it comes to planning for the inevitable. Neither do you, if you want their business.
An estate plan will help an estate stay in the family, and will keep a person's memory intact. People will only ever give a job so important to the best attornies, so you need to prove your the best by being quick and accurate.
For tips on how to do that, keep reading below!
Making an Estate Plan: The Basics
Before you can plan entire estates for your clients, you need to understand the basic steps behind making one. It takes more than a single interview with your client to understand what they need in an estate plan. Most of the time, they don't even fully understand what they need themselves.
So, it's up to you to glean what their family will need in an estate plan. Making one is a compromise between how property can legally be distributed to families and your client's expectations. At some points, you may need to play the role of a teacher and teach them about inheritance law.
No matter how you approach creating an estate plan, you will need to get to know your client. To learn how to do that, as well as other basics behind creating a good estate plan, keep reading below!
No Clients Are Ever the Same, So Get to Know Them
As an estate attorney, you likely see several different clients at a time. Lawyers can juggle between 200 and 300 cases at any single time, and with so much work to get through, it can be hard to get to know people at interpersonal levels. Yet, you need to strive to get as close as possible to someone when planning their estate.
It's important to realize that you are creating the thing that their family will refer to as their final wills. They will not be around to speak for themselves and to communicate how they want their property distributed. It's your job to ensure their desires are accurately represented in an estate plan.
And to do that, you need to know them as more than just clients. As you discuss their expectations for an estate plan, ask them about their day and what they think about work. Make small talk with them so you can develop a sense for who they are and what they value, and you will be able to represent that in the estate plan.
Anticipate Client and Legal Needs
Client's lives change — even in the world of estate planning. People have children, or your client's opinion of someone may change. As a result, they may want to change their estate plan.
Your estate plan should be adaptable and flexible to reflect people's dynamic lives. Most of all, it should plan ahead for when people's lives inevitably change. There should be clauses in case your clients find themselves with significantly more or less wealth or in case their opinion of someone shifts.
Time Is Money — Try to Preserve Their Wealth
One of the most important things when planning an estate is quick, yet thorough. You want to make sure you consider every possible outcome from a plan and anticipate people's changing lives. Yet, you also don't want to spend too much time drafting a plan.
As an estate attorney, it's your job to preserve your client's estate. Yet, if you take your time creating an estate plan, you will cost them money. They will need to pay for your services, after all.
And to learn how to be quick and thorough at the same time when planning how to handle a person's estate, keep reading below!
Communicate Estate Plans in Ways Clients Can Understand
As an estate planning attorney, you will have the final say in how a person's entire life's work is distributed. They won't be around to make sure you actually do the work you claim to do. People need to trust you before they hire you.
Communicating an estate plan and how they work can help establish trust. Plus, by communicating estate plans in simple terms, you will be able to verify that your clients understand the plans you're creating. As a result, you will spend less time going over plans repeatedly and will finish it quicker!
Get in the Flow with Good Workflows
Workflow is as important in estate planning as in any other field. When attorneys handle so many cases at a time, it's important that they create efficient workflows to get through them all with both speed and accuracy. The only way to create efficient workflows is by using technology that organizes and manage so many clients.
Your office shouldn't be afraid to adopt modern technology. Firms can only improve the more they use new software and systems that have been designed to benefit attorneys and clients!
It's Vital That People Plan for the Inevitable
Creating an estate plan is more than just the right thing to do for a person's family. It also helps make sure a person's wealth stays with the people they care about. It's a smart financial move; if you can't leave your wealth to the people you care about, what is it all for?
Yet, it can be tough for attorneys to create estate plans as quickly as clients need them. Most people wait until the last minute to hire an estate planning attorney, and that means you won't have much time to create a good plan for them. You need every advantage you can find.
That's why we're here. Contact us to learn how our tools will help you create better estate plans for your clients faster!