Finally, you need to develop and incorporate a repeatable process for engaging clients to write and share their ethical wills that allows for scalability, sustainability, follow-up and accountability in your practice. Here is an example of an ethical will protocol:
The ethical will process will incorporate three one-hour meetings. There will be a predetermined goal, behavioral strategy and specific behavioral assignment identified for each of the meetings.
Goal: Introduce the ethical will concept to the client.
Behavioral strategy: Go through an exercise in which the client designs a personal shield, like the ones people had in medieval Europe.
Homework assignment: Review a book or other literature about ethical wills.
Goal: Have the client begin the ethical will process.
Behavioral strategy: Review the process with the client.
Homework assignment: Write an ethical will.
Goal: Review the completed ethical will.
- Discuss whether the client's current financial plan reflects the thoughts and desires expressed in the ethical will.
- Discuss strategies for sharing the will with the client's family (for example, at a family meeting where it is read to everyone or handed out to be read).
Homework: The financial advisor will schedule the meeting, identify who will attend and invite them.
While at first glance these activities may appear daunting, they can provide an immeasurable return on your investment. By guiding your clients to write and share ethical wills, you not only strengthen your relationships, but also have the opportunity to significantly impact the future of the family and begin to establish your role in financially serving the next generation.
Dr. Denise Federer is a clinical psychologist, executive coach and founder of Federer Performance Management Group. She has been a consultant to the financial industry for 25 years.