Why Estate Planning Isn’t the Boring Law Practice Area You Think

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Most lawyers think estate planning is boring because of the way they were taught to do it is all wrong. They also don’t understand how profound and necessary a service it is, either.

Fact is, estate planning can be a life-changing and it’s not boring at all.

Let me give you a personal example of how important estate family is to the families you already serve:

When I was in law school, my father-in-law died. Since then I’ve spent over $3000 having the estate fixed and put together so that we, his family, wouldn’t have to deal with the probate court or his ex-wife.

Unfortunately because his plan was never updated properly, it was just a set of expensive documents—documents that didn’t even work when he needed them. We needed them! But because his assets were transferred into proper titles before he died, we were stuck dealing with the exact thing he paid thousands of dollars for us to avoid.

Too many people find themselves in this situation.

When a family is grieving from the loss of loved one, it’s incredibly unjust that they then be forced to deal with an estate plan that was improperly set up. Often the only choice a family has is to lump it—take whatever comes (or doesn’t!), or spend thousands of dollars correcting things that could easily have been taken care of beforehand.

I swore I would never be that kind of lawyer; the kind of lawyer that fails their clients when they need them most… The kind of lawyer that let’s their clients think their assets are properly secured, and loved ones will be taken care of, while making an error that surely must have been malpractice.

I only found out years later when I went to work for the best lawyers in the country that it wasn’t malpractice at all—it was common practice! Yes, that’s right…

The best law firm in the country did things exactly the same way our family lawyer had done, leaving us high and dry.

At the Big Law firm we put in place form documents (mostly using search-and-replace!) and Word to create those documents based on the last plan created. We didn’t even update those documents over time. What that meant (and still means because TOO many lawyers still do it this way) is that almost as soon as our clients left our office, they had a plan that no longer worked.

How could that be? It’s just reality… As soon as their assets changed, as soon as anything in their life changed or if the law changed, their plan was out of date.

Clients didn’t know this. They trusted us to know what we were doing but we never communicated with them once they paid us their money and left. Once they signed and paid, that was pretty much the last time they hear from us unless they contacted us. Of course, when they did they would have to leave a message and it would often be days before I did.

This is not what I would call an enjoyable client experience!

And for me it wasn’t enjoyable either. I didn’t go to law school to search-and-replace names and details on documents and put in place a plan for my clients that I knew wouldn’t work when they needed it.

I went to law school to make a difference in my clients lives, to be their trusted advisor and to know that I was making an impact in the world.

It wasn’t until I left that company to start my own law practice I discovered there could be a different way. However, I quickly realized I would have to be the one to create it.

So, I interviewed all the lawyers I knew. I asked them:

How do you serve your clients? How do you make sure that their plans stay up to date? How do you make sure their assets are planned for properly? How do you develop a real relationship with the people you serve?

The answers I received were frankly disheartening.

Most lawyers were doing nothing more than churning out documents, too… Meanwhile wondering and worrying where their next client would come, focusing all their energy and attention on trying to make the next sale.

They weren’t really happy either, but didn’t know another way.

So I decided to do something about it. I refused to practice law the old broken way—the one that left families without plans that worked, and that left me wholly dissatisfied with my practice and life.

I decided to make estate planning not boring. I decided to turn it into something truly meaningful for my clients, too. Not only was I able to prepare them plans that I knew would work when their families needed, in the right way, I learned how to create a transformational experience…

It changed the way clients thought their life. It changed the way they thought of theri family. It changed the way they thought of their businesses and even changed the way they thought of their parenting.

I’ll say it again (and again!)… done right, estate planning can be a life-changing and isn’t boring at all.

Most of the lawyers we’ve trained report experiencing practice satisfaction that they never could have expected, receiving thank you notes, gifts and flowers from the people they serve. Done well, estate planners can feel a deep appreciation for and find profound meaning in their work.

Not to mention estate planning is a highly lucrative area of law. Every family you already serve requires these services, whether they know it or not. (That’s where that transformational experience I mentioned comes in handy—being able to convey that need and the deep value of planning for the future, in a meaningful way everyone can understand.)

By adding on this much needed service to your practice, you can bring in revenue up to $250-300,000/year. However, the beautiful thing about estate planning is you can dial it up or down according to the specifics of your family situation and how much time and investment you want to put in your practice.

Estate planning is THE most flexible area of law.

Saying this, many of our lawyers are discovering they don’t want to invest their time and energy anywhere else because they know estate planning is simply their best overall investment…

And it pays them back again and again whether that’s monetarily, or in being able to have more free time, or be there for their own kids/families. And then it pays them back again with the sense of service, purpose and inner fulfilment.

I put it to you, how could a law niche that gives you so much back, ever be boring?

Topics:  Estate Planning, Young Lawyers

Published In: Professional Practice Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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