If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we lean towards the pragmatic, with a dose of do-the-right-thing values.
For many estate planning and elder law practitioners, heart and soul is why they chose this area of the law. You could have chosen to work in mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation or securities law. Estate planning attorneys care about their clients, about protecting seniors and the elderly. They’ve already got soul.
Sometimes we all get caught up in presenting a highly professional front. That’s a good thing for you and your clients. After all, they don’t want to hear about your troubles, because clients rely on you to be the steady and strong source that helps them with their problems.
But showing your heart and soul to clients isn’t about telling them your troubles.
It’s about responding to them as human beings. Making sure they know that they are more than just another file in your system.
Here’s the thing – this is easy to do when your clients are warm and friendly, when they are well dressed and well spoken, and when they have a substantial estate with assets that require some significant planning.
It’s harder when they are not educated, not well dressed, not friendly and even a little hostile because they don’t really want to spend their money on preparing documents that concern unpleasant facts of life and death.
Dealing with pleasant clients is easy. Dealing with difficult ones is the challenge, and where your practice can show its heart and soul.
We can almost guarantee in most cases that those unhappy clients know that they are not easy. But we also know a few other things:
A – Sometimes the hostile clients turn out to be the most appreciative ones.
B – Some of the most disheveled people turn out to be the ones with biggest estates.
C – Many of the hostile clients have children who are not hostile and who will appreciate the fact that their parents, despite their ornery behavior, were treated with respect and dignity.
That’s the heart and soul of an estate planning practice.