I recently caught a shuttle from the airport to home.
Business was obviously good for the bus company – the seats were all full and I found myself in the front passenger seat next to the driver.
We chatted easily for the trip. She got to asking me what I did. I told her.
Possibly out of politeness, she mentioned she needed to renew her will, and asked me what it might cost. I told her there was a pretty broad range depending on everyone’s circumstances but gave her some essential numbers. She whistled a breath in through her teeth, concluding it was too expensive.
It occurred to me my bus driver saw zero value in the proposition: whether a Will was seen as a grudge purchase, a necessary evil box ticking exercise that we all ‘know’ we need to do, albeit reluctantly, or something else, she immediately went to a place where she believed that this service was of little no value to her.
I decided to push on, not so much to win some business but rather to get an understanding of her point of view, and given we’d established what felt like a pretty honest and frank rapport over the preceding 20 kilometres she appeared to have no problem with this.
First we talked about service choices – it really didn’t matter which law firm she chose as the market pretty much dictated the cost, and most firms were similar. We then talked about the growing self-service market – she could most definitely buy a DIY version on line for a fraction of the price but that came with a non-monetary cost – DIY also means DIY legal research on your own time and DIY your own guarantee of service that what you do is right, and will work out ok for your entire life’s net worth.
We then moved onto what the Will was for? If one’s net personal wealth on their passing was several hundred thousand dollars, why does having a will professionally prepared for as little as a few hundred dollars to protect that not represent one of the very best investments one could ever make?
At this point, interest in exploring the issue any further evaporated. Whether my attempts to understand my driver’s point of view on the value proposition veered into a lecture from a know-it-all (me), or whether she was now deep in thought following my pearls of wisdom will remain one of life’s unknowns. She shrugged and busied herself with the important task at hand of ensuring a bus full of people were delivered safely and on time to their respective destinations.
We chatted and laughed a few more times and then I hopped off.
I’d missed the opportunity to get the message across just how important a Will was, regardless of the service provider. The story became a discussion on cost, and in my view that’s not right. That said, I’ve heard and seen that perspective so often I was also left wondering if I’m the one missing the point.
But I don’t think so. As a broad and very general rule, society just doesn’t see value in a great many products offered by lawyers and other professional services firms. (Let’s face it – we’d all secretly prefer a new iPhone 7 over a Will).
It really comes down to a simple value proposition:
– is the thing (the Will) worth the spend? What is the value attaching to it for me (my lifetime of assets and my family’s future) and what might happen if I don’t do anything?
There can be no argument that a Will, no matter which lawyer you engage or what medium you choose is, beyond doubt, worth it.
If you’re inclined to get a bit more info on making a will just click here to review our Wills page . If you’re not that’s cool too, but don’t avoid getting one because you don’t see the value. It is and you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be informed and make a decision.