The Importance of Client-Friendly Documents

Have you ever clicked to accept a user agreement without reading it? According to various studies, surveys, and informal polls, practically everyone has done that at least once.


Most often because legalese, the specialized language of the legal profession is hard to understand.

It might be relatively harmless to agree to cookies on your computer without understanding the full implication. But it's not the same as signing estate planning documents that shape a legacy.

Despite legalese continuing to be standard in contracts, there's a shift toward more client-friendly documents written in plain language. And the reason is simple: it's a sound business decision.

Here's why.

Everyone Saves Time

At first, switching to creating documents in plain language can be tough for anyone conditioned to write in legalese. Until the old habit is broken, drafting documents can take more time.

But with practice, or the help of templates, it takes the same--if not less time to create a document in plain language.

Additionally, that's not the only way you'll save time.

Plain language results in less time spent on explaining the document to clients. Which means the client also saves time. The same is true for the people who, down the road, will need to read and act upon the documents.

Builds Confidence

Plain language documents are client-friendly because they provide clarity in the most trusted way.

When people can grasp the content of document the first time they read it, they gain confidence. That confidence helps them relax during a process that is often filled with anxiety and reluctance.

Individuals and families want to feel comfortable and certain about what they sign in terms of estate planning. Providing them with plain language documents is a strong step in that direction.

A case study of GE Aviation's digital-services business helps illustrate this point. It shows how an organization's decision to adopt a plain language approach resulted in greater confidence for all involved parties.

Facilitates Useful Conversation

Don't think that client-friendly documents reduce the need for professional estate planning services.

No matter how plain the language in a contract is, there is always a need for professional guidance. The implications of documents differ according to circumstances. Clients need to understand possible and likely implications before signing.

This is where conversation comes in.

Client-friendly documents facilitate the right kinds of conversations with people. Instead of spending energy and time on deciphering legalese, you and your clients can talk about what it means to them.

Conversations are a good way to uncover unique needs and build rapport. Focusing on what a client needs and wants instead of the words on paper helps strengthen the value of your service.

Promotes Customer-First Attitude

An important part of building and maintaining a thriving business is putting the customer first.

Creating a customer-first culture for your business takes more than documents written in plain language. But having client-friendly documents is one way to demonstrate your commitment to giving your customers what they want and need.

In fact, it's a critical way of "walking the talk". The content of estate planning documents and the implication of that content on each client's legacy is the crux of your business. To use a well-worn but clear expression, that's where the rubber meets the road.

In many ways, the signing of documents is when the real test of your business begins. It's also the point at which clients will begin deciding if they'll tell their friends and family to use your services.

Using client-friendly documents is a good yet subtle marketing tool. It's safe to say that most people don't relish estate planning. It's commonly thought of as a must-do task rather than a want-to-do one.

So imagine the response when you present plain language documents to your customers. Chances are they will be surprised and relieved.

Combine that response with your overall outstanding customer service skills and word of mouth can become your best lead generator.

Reduces Legal Action Down the Road

One of the unique aspects of many estate planning documents is that the signatory isn't the one who will act on the content.

At some point that could be years or decades away, someone other than your client will need to read and understand those documents. That person could be a legal professional or someone with no legal training at all.

Either way, client-friendly documents make it easy to take appropriate action as directed by the documents.

When those appropriate actions are easy for everyone to understand, the chances of disputes decreases.

Of course, there's no way to be certain of how interested parties will respond to the contents of an estate planning document. But plain language can help reduce anxiety and doubt among those interested parties.

This is especially true if they don't have to rely on a legalese interpreter to know what the documents mean to them. In that way, client-friendly documents help the unseen customer gain confidence.

Client-Friendly Documents Are a Good Differentiator

There is no shortage of estate planning services both online and in person. But what's not common is the use of easy to understand documentation.

Want to stand out? Be an estate planning professional who takes a customer-first approach to serving clients. Those who go a step further and create documents that use plain language rise above the crowd.

At Beyond Counsel, we make it easy for you to switch to client-friendly documents.

Check out Beyond Counsel. It comes with a guarantee and support you won't find anywhere else.

Greater efficiency and the increased value of a customer-first business are only a few clicks away.

 Beyond Counsel's consultants love talking legal tech. 


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