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Lack of Lawyer Marketing Blamed for High Levels of Intestacy

It's not often that you hear that lawyers market too little. But that's apparently the premise of this recent abstract entitled "Marketing Wills" that appears in the Elder Law Journal. (H/T Mark Merenda, Smart Marketing Blog) The paper's authors, Michael McCunney and Alyssa DiRusso contend that intestacy levels (i.e., level of people who die without wills) remain high, in part because lawyers have not done a very good job of marketing wills to prospective clients. The authors suggest that lawyers use marketing experts to devise campaigns to educate clients on the need for wills. Scott Greenfield comments, noting that lawyers do not need to engage in marketing to educate the public and that perhaps, the bar associations are a more appropriate resource for providing education on wills than lawyers.

As for me, I disagree with the underlying premise that the high level of intestacy is attributable to lack of education. In this day and age, most people realize that it's a good idea to have a will, just like it's a good idea for women over the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram or for men to undergo checks for prostate cancer. Yet often, even the best-educated don't take these actions, either because they flat out don't have the money, or figure that they don't have enough at stake (i.e., a large enough estate or family history of cancer) to justify the time and cost associated with preventative measures. Lawyers can educate the public about wills all they want, but until they can actually prepare wills inexpensively and conveniently, many people will continue to forego them.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on November 26, 2008 at 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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