Why traditional estate planning just doesn’t cut it
Do you ever feel like you’re in a race to the bottom, competing with “Cheap Legal” services from DIY options to the discount lawyer down the street?
You know you need to charge more to grow your practice, but you worry you can’t get clients to pay more, especially when you have no way to distinguish yourself from all the other options available to them.
And if you’re one of the lucky lawyers that have managed to charge premium prices for drafting wills and trusts, you may feel lawyer shame about charging so much because you know the documents you provide will just get buried in a drawer and not achieve the client’s intended outcomes for their loved ones.
You became a lawyer because you wanted to advise and help people in a way that makes a positive impact in their lives, but if you’re a traditional estate planning lawyer, you might have found yourself selling discount documents instead— or in some cases collecting fees that you feel you don’t deserve.
That’s why traditional estate planning just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t serve you, and it doesn’t serve your clients.
Practicing estate planning the traditional way results in you struggling to generate enough revenue to cover your expenses, and it often leaves your clients stuck in expensive litigation during one of the most challenging times in their lives after a loved one has died or become incapacitated.
But what if there was a better way to practice—that positions you as your clients most trusted resource and allows you to charge affordable premium fees that clients are happy to pay and that you feel good about receiving because you know you’re providing a service they genuinely want and need?
Today I’m going to introduce you to that new and better way of practicing and show you why you should ditch traditional estate planning and upgrade your services to include Life and Legacy Planning.
What is Life and Legacy Planning?
I’ve said for years that estate planning is the best practice area for lawyers who want to make a difference in their clients’ lives. But filling out wills, trusts, and medical directives is not the estate planning I’m talking about.
I know lawyers like you want to do more than just the billable and fillable.
If you’re anything like me when I was considering what practice area to pursue, you want to choose a practice area that allows you to positively impact your clients’ lives and make a good living doing it.
Life and Legacy Planning is that practice area.
Life and Legacy Planning takes the building blocks of estate planning— the necessity to plan for the event of death or incapacity and expands on it to serve the whole client, not just in the event of their death but also during their lifetime.
Practicing Life and Legacy Planning ensures your client is taking a holistic view of their priorities and assets and making decisions that help them to achieve their goals for their family now and in the future.
And Life and Legacy Planning is the foundation of what it means to be a Personal Family Lawyer®, the trusted counselor for families and businesses in your community.
Being a PFL that practices Life and Legacy Planning instead of just selling documents positions you as your client’s most trusted advisor for their most important financial decisions counseling them on what matters most now and in the future.
By learning this method from our team at New Law Business Model, you will get access to my proven practice management tools to grow your business and ensure your clients’ estate plans help them reach their goals.
Life and Legacy Planning can get you back to the path that made you want to be a lawyer in the first place.
And you can take the first step today.
Here are three reasons you should ditch traditional Estate Planning and upgrade your practice by offering Life and Legacy Planning.
1. Life and Legacy Planning allows you to make a tangible impact on your clients’ lives by providing reliable outcomes.
When you practice traditional estate planning, clients are often left with estate plans that fail. Most estate plans fail because they fall out of date quickly. The client’s assets change, their lives change, or the law changes, but the documents don’t.
And traditional estate plans almost never include a comprehensive inventory or “map” of your assets—which is why there’s $58B of assets in the state department’s lost and unclaimed property across the U.S.
But when you practice Life and Legacy Planning, you’ll be offering your clients our proven service that makes a real difference in their lives and the lives of their family.
You’ll design and implement estate plans you know will work, customized specifically for your client’s unique family dynamics, their assets, and what matters most to them. You can be confident you are delivering a service that is well worth what your clients will be paying for it.
Your clients and community will see you as the go-to lawyer and trusted advisor for the people you serve, with a differentiated service that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd.
2. Life and Legacy Planning gives you the tools to counsel and advise the client as a whole human, not just a portfolio of assets.
Traditional estate plans don’t account for intangible assets—your client’s intellectual, spiritual, and human assets, the assets their family cares about most. Traditional estate plans only focus on financial assets, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that only planning for the preservation of financial assets is not enough.
When my dad died, he left behind a little money but more important to me, especially because the money was gone quickly, he left me a voicemail on my phone. It said, “Lex, it’s your dad. Call me back.”
And I listened to that voicemail all the time. Until the day it got deleted accidentally. I was devastated. And after that, we began creating a process and including it in every plan where we guide you to help your client pass on more than their money but also their intellectual, spiritual, and human assets.
When you practice Life and Legacy Planning, you include the human assets in every plan, and your clients and their families will love you for providing that for them.
Life and Legacy Planning allows you to move beyond the billable and the fillable to provide a truly differentiated service that is recession-proof and can’t be replaced by any online service or technology because it’s based in your humanity.
3. Life and Legacy Planning allows you to price your services in a way that serves both you and your clients.
Because traditional estate planning is often experienced as a “commodity” service that can be shopped for and purchased at the lowest cost, most lawyers struggle to charge the fees they deserve and need to run a healthy practice. And those who are charging enough often feel guilty about it because they fear they aren’t really delivering value.
Life and Legacy Planning solves both of these problems by giving you a truly valuable service that cannot be commoditized and allows you to charge enough to deliver your service with a healthy, thriving business model.
This is practicing law like you wished it could be. Never salesy or pushy—you’re simply helping your client do the right thing for themselves and the people they love at the right price for them.
Now you know why the traditional estate planning model is broken, what Life and Legacy Planning is and how it’s the best option for lawyers who want to grow a thriving practice as their community’s most trusted resource: their Personal Family Lawyer.
Knowing why Life and Legacy Planning is the best path for lawyers who want to make a difference and get paid well for it is just the beginning.
If you have questions about what learning Life and Legacy Planning would look like for you and your personal path to becoming a PFL consider scheduling a time to speak with one of our Law Business Advisors to see if our program is the right fit for you and if you’re the right fit for our community of trusted lawyers