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 while navigating extended periods of change and uncertainty? Without assistance, many individuals become paralyzed by fear or confusion, unable to move forward with what they know otherwise to be an important next step.
The Growing Needs and Shortage of Trusted Advisors in Estate Planning Law
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.
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:
- protect the interests of young children or otherwise vulnerable family members, and
- provide clarity to their loved ones about financial decisions following their death to eliminate unnecessary stress and conflict.
Growing Demand for Estate Planning Since the Pandemic
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. 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.
Reports from estate planning providers across the nation also demonstrated a rising demand since the start of the pandemic. 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%’.”
Unfortunately, estate planning options for the average person often result in superficial planning that doesn’t keep families out of court or out of conflict.
Why does this happen? Because the traditional 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 understand 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 or account for the family dynamics that are going to come into play when someone becomes incapacitated or dies.
An Unprecedented Need for Education Around Estate Planning
The annual Estate Planning and Wills study independently conducted in 2020 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.
The same study, repeated in 2021, found that:
- 35% of adults saw a greater need for estate planning
- 31% of those who saw a greater need didn’t do anything about it
- 2 out of 3 adults still do not have a will
And the top reason that was given when asked why they don’t have a will? “I haven’t gotten around to it.” Looking at these statistics collectively suggests that while the number of individuals recognizing the need for end-of-life planning continues to grow, their inaction to take the necessary steps points to a need for education, guidance, and support in order to get these critical matters properly handled.
“People need to get their affairs in order. If they don’t, it is going to create huge problems for the people that they love.” – Ali Katz
The Shortage of Trusted Advisors in Estate Planning Law
Unfortunately, when it comes to finding the guidance they need, Ali Katz says the “the traditional law business model is broken.” According to an 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.”
With the traditional law practice model, the kind of understanding and education that people really need to be able to make the best decisions around protecting their loved ones and their legacies doesn’t even enter into the equation.
Families and small business owners in communities across the country need great lawyers right now more than ever to guide them.
They need trusted advisors they can turn to to help them to make wise decisions about how to protect their families, how to take care of their assets, and how to take care of their businesses. And, while you may not have thought of it before, you can be the kind of trusted advisor, using your law degree, that the people in your community are turning to for guidance on these matters—and there’s a huge opportunity for your life and law practice when you do.
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.
As a result of this 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.
Ready to take the next step? Schedule a call with a Law Business Advisor and discover what’s possible for your life and law practice when you serve families and business owners as a true, trusted advisor with the training and support from New Law Business Model.