New Year's Evolutions

Jan 01, 2024
Attorney pointing to estate plan binder in front of New Year's dinner party

Time keeps passing, and the New Year is often a time to focus on upgrading our lives. It is (or should be) the same with businesses, and the law office is also undergoing some changes to keep up with the times. Here are some the items we'll be focusing on in the coming year:

* More Digital Answers: We have always been focused on education. I believe that happy and satisfied planning clients understand the plan they have and possess peace of mind because of it. I also believe that digital solutions can provide more exact and detailed answers to common questions well beyond what simply "speaking with the attorney" for 30 minutes can. We already have several courses, but there are some mini-courses we plan to produce in the coming year that can make it even more cost-effective for our trust clients to find answers to the most common questions. These will be made available for sale at a much lower cost that consulting with me as the attorney will be, but all of these mini-courses will also be available with our "Peace of Mind Program" in the Client Resource Center. In addition, if the videos are not enough to answer your specific questions, we can set up a phone call to discuss it, and the cost of the mini-course will be deducted from the usual charge for a phone call.

* Livestreams: In addition to more mini-courses, we'll also be providing exclusive livestreams to the subscribers to the Client Resource Center and the "Members" of the YouTube channel. These livestreams will also be followed by a live Q&A session, and while we try to have questions relevant to the livestream topic, I will be open to all planning questions at the end. 

* Respect for Everyone's Time: One of the personal New Year's Resolutions I have is to do more for people who appreciate me and my time, and correspondingly do less for people who don't appreciate me or my time. The vast majority of our clients do respect the law firm's time, but occasionally there are some who don't as well as sometimes the children of our clients. Unfortunately, as the law firm grows, we now will have to charge for services even if in the past we did not. There is simply not enough time to do things for free. Therefore, we have the following policy changes:

1) Phone calls are scheduled for 30 minutes and are $100. If you are a trust client who is also a subscriber to the Client Resource Center, that comes with your Annual Review Meeting priced at $100 for free. If you wish to use that benefit for a phone call instead of an Annual Review Meeting in person or by Zoom, then we can certainly accommodate that. However, the Annual Review Meeting would include the full range of items typically covered as well as your specific questions. This will allow us to grow by hiring new staff or extending hours in order to accommodate requests.

2) We do not have digital copies of all of our client's estate planning documents, but we do for most clients since 2017. It was around this time we started keeping the second set of executed originals to make sure we always have one in case your family can't find your binder. If you want digital copies of your documents and we have them, then we have to charge $50 for our staff to provide them to you. In 2023, requests for these documents have about tripled, and we simply can't afford to divert staff attention from other law office business without charging for it. Of course, this charge does not apply to new and existing clients at the time their planning documents are signed/updated going forward. If you do not have digital copies of your documents and we do not have a set of originals, then please contact us and our office can arrange a time for you to drop off your documents for scanning.

3) For new clients who go through a strategy session but do not immediately sign up, we'll be reducing the amount of time a flat rate price quote is good from 6 months to 1 month. The reason for this is because we are starting to get more clients from YouTube based on videos regarding more complex techniques and strategies. When they take more than a month to "think about it" and possibly consult with other professionals who don't necessarily understand these areas, they come back 2 or 3 months later and need to completely redo the strategy session because the other professionals confused them and they forgot the details of what we talked about. Again, by not repeating meetings, this frees up more of my time to create the educational videos and courses to keep our clients informed.

Those are the big items we are working on now, but there will hopefully be even more great things to help serve our clients down the road. If you have any ideas on how we can improve, then please let us know. And make it a great New Year!

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