125 Tasks That Must Be Completed…
On the Most Difficult Day of Your Life
Picture this scenario. You are a financial services professional and your phone rings and immediately you realize by the tone of the caller’s voice that something terrible has happened. Your client then tells you that a close loved one has unexpectedly died.
After offering your sincere condolences, what value can you bring your client at that very moment? What can you tell them with regards to what they need to do next? What are the steps they need to take regarding many funeral planning challenges they will soon face? And most importantly, have you had “the conversation” about death with your clients, and subsequently implemented plans and preparations for this exact situation?
Questions and Answers Most Families Need
The three most common questions families ask after experiencing a loved one’s death are:
1. What do we do next?
2. What kind of funeral/burial/cremation/memorial arrangements do we prepare?
3. How do we pay for the funeral costs and expenses?
During much of my 20+ year career as a financial services professional, I was not able to provide much value in answering these three questions. Clearly I wanted to help my clients as much as possible, but I was simply not equipped with the necessary knowledge, tools, and/or resources.
The Financial Services Industry Needs More End of Life Training
Regrettably, the financial services industry has not yet readily adopted End of Life Planning as a part of the standard services we provide. As many of you know from my years of writing, teaching, speaking, and educating on this topic, I firmly believe this needs to change. I also believe End of Life Planning will become a valuable tool for financial professionals and their practices in the years ahead.
If you think about it, death is a guaranteed event. It is something we cannot avoid or predict, so rather than postponing “the conversation”, we should embrace it. Why? Because in addition to the extreme grief and loss, death is almost always accompanied by many time-sensitive and extremely difficult emotional and financial decisions.
The harsh reality is that the financial services industry rarely:
– Encourages having “the conversation” about death
– Teaches the most effectively ways approach this sensitive topic
– Provides education and/or training on how to create a sound End of Life Plan
Make a Difference by Being Different
Why am I so passionate about helping you add End of Life Planning to your practice? Well, maybe you don’t want to hear this any more than most people enjoy talking about it. But if you have not yet, some day you too will face the death of a loved one and the many difficult tasks that are commonly associated while coping with loss. What you will quickly learn and realize is this simple fact:
When it comes to planning a funeral, most people are largely
unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and unprepared.
My own personal loss has become my inspiration. For well over a decade I have immersed myself in the death care industry, constantly studying, learning, training, teaching, writing, speaking, blogging, building websites – doing anything to become as well-versed as possible on End of Life Planning.
My mission is to promote End of Life Planning to help make a difficult situation easier, both for the financial services industry and the families we serve. Therefore, in addition to the helpful “125 Tasks List” below, I hope these two quotes further inspire more financial services professionals to expand your practice adopting End of Life Planning as a standard, routine, and “niche” service we provide.
“Don’t let yourself be weighed down by what other people think, because in a few years, in a few decades, or in a few centuries, that way of thinking will have changed. Live now what others will only live in the future.” – Paulo Coelho
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – Scott Peck
125 Tasks After Death – A Valuable Tool
Pursuant to my mission to help financial services professionals offer value-added services to the families we serve (and with the help of National Guardian Life), below is a “125 Tasks List” which I am fully confident will serve as a valuable tool for anyone who has recently lost a loved one.
Above all, my hope and prayer is that many financial services professionals will use this “125 Tasks List” to initiate “the conversation” with their clients and begin creating their End of Life Plan now. By doing this soon, your clients can minimize or eliminate many of these difficult tasks – for a day that is guaranteed to come later – and day which will likely be the most difficult day of their loved ones lives.