“Geez. Are you sure that Kristen needs this worksheet competed before our appointment on Wednesday? All I need is a review of my Will,” a prospective client asks our client concierge, Olivia.
“Yes, sir. Kristen will review both your current Will and your worksheet before your appointment so she is prepared and ready to answer all of your questions and make planning recommendations for you. She cannot do this without gathering some preliminary information before you meet. Plus, the two of you won’t be wasting time on gathering mundane background information,” Olivia responded.
I sometimes get pushback from prospective clients who have worked with other estate planning attorneys in the past who cannot understand why I would ask them to complete a worksheet with information about their family situation, planning goals, and their assets.
After all, their last attorney did not ask them to prepare before their consultation.
But I’d venture a very good guess that if their previous lawyer didn’t ask for preliminary information in advance, then their lawyer also was not preparing for the consultation in advance either.
I personally review every worksheet in advance of every appointment so that I am prepared. I’ve started taking my notes and sometimes even researching issues in advance. There is no “winging it” in our office. Nor should you expect anything less from your estate planning professional.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.” Abraham Lincoln.
When I was newbie attorney fresh out of law school and working for another firm, there was no prior preparation before consultations. It was pay your consultation fee and you get 30-60 minutes of my time. We will spend the first 15 minutes with me taking notes about your family members, gathering correct spellings and contact information for them, and, with whatever time we happen to have left, then chat about what assets you own and what your planning goals are.
Not an effective use of our time together, you know?
So, when I founded My Pink Lawyer a decade ago, I decided to create the very best experience for my clients and that includes not wasting their time on mundane fact finding.
Sure, I “lose” some prospective clients who just cannot swallow having to do a bit of prep work before we meet.
But, the clients that do their “homework” are equal partners with me with their planning and we craft AMAZING Family Succession Plans together.
So, I ask you. How many hours do YOU spending sharpening your ax before you chop down a tree?
Kristen “Always Sharpening Her Ax” Marks