How to Get Clients to Talk about Death

How to Get Clients to Talk about Death

The reticence of earlier days is long gone and are few topics we can’t talk about today.

Indeed, the most personal details are bandied about unselfconsciously. Sex, mental health issues, drug problems, money – all fair game. But there’s one final taboo that we have yet to get past. Death.

As we all know, death is the one certainty in life. We’re all destined for the grave, and we are all going to face the loss of loved ones. Death, whether our own or that of family members, involves financial issues that require advanced planning. Unfortunately, many of us like to live in denial and fail to make the necessary plans.

Advisors need to initiate difficult conversations to make sure that clients are prepared for life’s most unpleasant eventuality. But it can be like pulling teeth to get clients talking about unsettling topics like wills, advance directives and life insurance. As an advisor, you need to make sure they’re prepared whether they live far longer than they ever expected or walk in front of a bus tomorrow.  Here are a few suggestions to get the conversation started.

First, try reframing the issue as one of control, telling them that you would like to help them maintain control over their personal circumstances until the very end, thus reducing the burdens on their family. Acknowledge that such topics can be uncomfortable but congratulate them for having the foresight and consideration to look out for their loved ones. Then you can carry on with topics such as wills, powers of attorney and other end-of-life planning issues. Reassure them that these issues will help their families carry on at a difficult time, and their wishes for their loved ones will be carried out.

You can also recommend helpful websites that can help address end-of-life planning, such as the conversationproject.org and prepareforyourcare.org.  Encourage your clients to consider the well-being of their children and grandchildren.

Helping your clients confront this last taboo issue is an important responsibility for advisors. By initiating these conversations, you will ensure that your clients and their families are prepared for the future.

For more on the topic, please see:
How to Get Clients to Talk About Death | Wealth Management

The Fiduciary Standard is Still Evolving Tech-Savvy Millennials are Surprisingly Vulnerable to Scams