Don’t Worry: It’s Fine to Cry in Front of Your Lawyer
September 28, 2020
“It’s not public knowledge yet but my wife and I are getting a divorce.” “My husband’s cancer has progressed rapidly and we’ve moved him into hospice care.” “We don’t know where our son is right now. He’s been in and out of rehab and we keep hoping that the right program will help him get back on his feet.” “I don’t know what to do or where to start. I feel so afraid.”
A large part of being an estate planner is navigating clients through sudden and frightening life transitions: divorce, death, sudden disability or the mental illness of a loved one. It’s common for emotions to run high and for a client to feel embarrassed about what they don’t know or how vulnerable they are in an unexpected way. Your estate planning attorney is there to help you find your way through some of life’s biggest transitions, one task at a time. Bottom line: it’s fine to cry in front of your lawyer.
Your lawyer can help you best when you are honest about your situation – no matter how awkward. We listen to you to understand what you are facing. We then advise you about your legal options and work together with you to formulate a plan of action. Once we have a plan, we can move forward with you step by step. For many clients, it is a tremendous relief to have a trusted advisor ready to carry some of the burden of the changes they are facing.
It is also best to call your lawyer as soon as possible when you are facing a crisis. It’s a normal human response to put things off and to want to avoid the work and pain involved in big transitions. However, there are legal avenues that may only be open for a short period of time. You can better preserve your options by contacting your attorney quickly. Remember, when you are working with trusted counsel, you are no longer facing your situation alone.
In addition to providing legal advice, your estate planning lawyer can be a wealth of knowledge for other resources you may need. Often our clients need not only estate planning expertise, but also assistance from accountants, wealth advisors, appraisers and attorneys who specialize in other practices, such as corporate, real estate or family law. You may be surprised to learn that your attorney can help you locate funeral directors, wedding planners and real estate agents. Many life transitions take an entire team and your attorney can be a resource to help you build that team.