Demand for Estate Planning Attorneys Grows During Pandemic

Estate Planning During a Pandemic
Photo courtesy of Edward Jenner from Pexels

Estate planning should not just be a plan for death, but instead the opportunity to make wise choices during life.

And that’s precisely what we teach lawyers at New Law Business Model. But how do people make wise choices during a crisis while navigating extended periods of change and uncertainty?

Without assistance, many individuals become paralyzed with fear or confusion, unable to move forward with what they know otherwise to be an important next step.

Estate Planning Attorneys: How You Can Help

According to Baruch Fischhoff, Social and Decision Sciences professor at Carnegie Mellon University, “When people face risks they want facts that can help them make better decisions, even if they’re getting bad news.”

Furthermore, people want, “Leadership that helps them navigate and determine the most important actions to take,” writes Alison Davis, Founder and CEO at Davis & Company, in Inc. Magazine’s article, “How Great Leaders Respond to Crisis”.

A Shortage of Trusted Advisors

Estate planning attorneys are needed now more than ever to step forward in their communities to provide unbiased resources and guidance that provide the facts individuals are seeking to make informed decisions for themselves and their families during this time of uncertainty.

Typically individuals in the market for an estate plan are looking for ways they can

  1. protect the interests of young children or otherwise vulnerable family members, and
  2. provide clarity to their loved ones about financial decisions following their death to eliminate unnecessary stress and conflict.

Unfortunately, estate planning options for the average person often result in planning that remains at the surface, and doesn’t keep families out of court or out of conflict. Why does this happen? Because the typical law practice model for estate planning attorneys is focused on getting standard documents in place, as quickly as possible, without enough training for the lawyers on how to get beneath the surface to what’s really needed.

And, because most people looking for estate planning don’t know how to differentiate between a plan that will work and one that won’t, they are shopping based on price. Most lawyers, as a result, compete on price by keeping their fees low and end up skimping on their service out of necessity.

Alternatively, people learn about estate planning from sources like Legal Zoom and Dave Ramsey, who spend tens of thousands a month on advertising, and lead people to a DIY service that doesn’t adequately identify the family dynamics that are going to come into play when someone becomes incapacitated or die.

As the number of individuals recognizing the implications of the Coronavirus pandemic on end of life planning continues to grow, most are discovering there is a shortage of trusted advisors who can guide them. As a result, they typically choose to do nothing, or get band-aid planning in place that is likely to result in court or conflict for the people they love, down the road.

An Unprecedented Need

According to US News & World Report the likelihood of hospitalizations and fatalities due to COVID-19 starts to climb at age 50. Now take into consideration that the total US population aged 50 and over is roughly 114.5 million adults or 35 percent of the entire US population according to a survey published by Statisa.com. Finally, factor in the estimated 41.4 million adults ages 18-64 that are at risk due to an underlying medical condition. Given these numbers, it is safe to say the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on end of life preparations is profound and far-reaching.

The annual 2020 Estate Planning and Wills survey independently conducted by yougov.com on behalf of caring.com, an online resource for family caregivers, reported that less than one-third of the 2,400 Americans surveyed (32%) say they have a will or another type of estate planning document.

Furthermore, the 2020 annual survey reports that, “While about 60% of people think that estate planning is important, the number of people who haven’t yet thought about whether or not a will or living trust is important for them increased by 12 percentage points compared to 2019.”

Looking at these statistics collectively suggests nearly half of the American population could be confronted with their mortality due to the Coronavirus with an estimated two-thirds of the population without an estate plan in place. And while families recognize the importance of estate planning, their inaction to take the necessary steps points to a need for education in the community.

Growing Demand for Estate Planning Since the Pandemic

Reports from estate planning providers across the nation further demonstrate a rising demand. Alicia Adamczyk, a journalist for CNBC’s Make It website reports, “DeVere Group, one of the world’s largest financial advisory firms, recorded a 76% jump in demand for wills in the two weeks to the end of March.”

ABC News journalist Catherine Thorbecke writes, “…an online [DIY] estate-planning platform, told ABC News that they saw a 143% increase week-over-week in people creating wills with them last week, and … predicts it will be an even larger uptick this week, estimating it’s ‘probably closer 220%’.”

Effective Communication During a Crisis Requires a Plan

Harvard Business Review collected numerous resources from relevant experts into their guide called, “Preparing for a Pandemic” in response to the avian flu outbreak of 2006. The knowledge shared in this guide is invaluable for today’s current circumstances and how best to communicate with others about difficult topics.

The section, “Communication: Getting Straight Talk Right” warns, “[Do not] put a happy face on things unless the facts warrant it.” Effective communication during a crisis hinges on following a thoughtfully crafted and tested communication plan.

Unfortunately, when it comes to running a legal practice, Ali Katz, founder of New Law Business Model, says the “old law business model,” is broken. According to a recent article published in the California Business Journal, Ali describes following the outdated model as, “… taking on as many clients as possible, drafting as many documents as possible, and communicating as little as possible — an unfulfilling and harried work style for the lawyers that also doesn’t serve the client’s best interests.” Communication during a crisis requires planning ahead but with the typical law practice model, the kind of communication people need most doesn’t even enter into the equation. Really, it’s not even possible.

Unlock the Power of Your Law Degree

The New Law Business Model is fundamentally different and designed to assist lawyers in making a shift from using the traditional, transactional model to understanding how to implement a relational, people-first, community education-based model instead. Members learn a proven, systematized, and highly personalized system for educating their communities, and serving their clients, in which communication and a strong understanding of family dynamics is a central component of serving their estate planning clients as long-term trusted advisors, instead of once-and-done, glorified document-drafters.

The Life & Legacy Planning Program is a 90-day program with a “No-Fail Guarantee” that gives lawyers everything needed to learn how to use the New Law Business Model to serve families and small business owners as a trusted advisor, and get paid (on average) $3,000 to $5,000 per estate plan and $750 to $3,000 per month per business, by clients who love to work with them.

As a result of our training, lawyers love being lawyers again because they have flexibility, a steady income stream, and most importantly — a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from using their law degrees to provide truly valuable outcomes for the families and small business owners they serve.

Take the Next Step

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a call with a Law Business Advisor here. Our program is customized based on the specifics of where you are now, the practice model you want to build based on the specifics of your personal time and financial goals, and how quickly you want to get there. On our introductory call, we will do three things:

  1. Get clear that you want to serve families and/or small business owners as a trusted counselor and guide
  2. Establish what your personal roadmap will look like to create the law practice you want
  3. Discuss what your investment will be, and how quickly you can make it back and have the foundational knowledge and training you need to begin educating your community and build the life and practice you truly want.

Additional Resources

2 thoughts on “Demand for Estate Planning Attorneys Grows During Pandemic”

  1. It’s interesting that there was a 76% jump for demand in wills at the start of the pandemic. Since the pandemic is still in effect, I want to make sure I have my will written fully out for my entire family. I’ll be sure to find an estate planning professional that can help me write my will quickly.

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