When talking with attorneys that are interested in building their estate planning practice there is one important question we usually ask. The question is, “who is your biggest competitor for estate planning business”. Often the attorney will begin to name the top law firms in their town. At that point we must politely disagree. In any given town or city the answer cannot be a certain attorney, or even a particular law firm. Why can’t it be? The simple answer is because the huge majority of the adult population doesn’t have a proper estate plan. According to a 2009 survey taken by Lawyers.com 49% of adults do not have a will. The same survey found that 72% did not have proper powers of attorney. Most attorneys would agree that no estate plan is complete without a power of attorney; therefore it is impossible for more than 28% of the adult population to have a proper estate plan. If everyone needs shoes and only 28% of the people have them should you concentrate on what the competing shoemakers are doing or on getting the message out that you are an excellent shoemaker? The biggest competition attorneys’ face for estate planning business is the lack of knowledge of the public.
Unfortunately that lack of knowledge doesn’t
only extend to the general public. It is also true of many financial advisors.
Many advisors either lack the knowledge, the concern or both about the
importance of the estate planning process. Many feel they aren’t “legal
experts” and there is no financial gain for them, so why should they care.
Regrettably the “advisors” with the best chance to educate and motivate the
consumer is also apathetic about one of the greatest needs their clients have.
Out of over 230,000,000 adults over age 20 and over in the United States less than
64,400,000 have appropriate estate plans, while 165,600,000 of them are without
the plan they desperately need. This status quo should not continue, for it is a need that is too big to ignore. In the following pages you will
meet the essential members of a great estate planning team.