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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Would you like some coleslaw with that will?

Our national sister publication – Lawyers USA – ran a story this week about a Trusts and Estates attorney in Massachusetts who has hit upon a new gimmick for generating business – “will-signing parties.” (See "Will-signing parties enliven solo's estate practice.")

Modeled after Tupperware parties, the will-signing parties are held in someone's home. The host invites friends and relatives to participate. The attorney requires a minimum of five couples or individuals for each party.

Before the party, the lawyer asks each couple to fill out a questionnaire about their estate planning needs, and then talks with them by phone to answer questions. Each couple reviews a draft of their documents before the party.

At the party, each couple meets separately with the lawyer to review their documents. When they are ready to sign, another couple is called in to act as witnesses. Then presumably everybody goes out on the porch for barbecued chicken.

I can’t quite decide if this is a great marketing idea or something truly tasteless.

“Oh, I’m sorry honey, I got some mustard on our bequest to Junior. Could you pass me a paper towel to clean it off – oh, and some more potato salad while you’re at it, thanks.”

I am presuming that the guests lay off the beer until after they sign the wills.


Anonymous said...

Maybe bad taste, but if it gets people to actually go and get a will, which all too many folks have failed to do, then on the balance it's a good thing. Maybe the lawyer has a pecuniary interest (don't we all?), but the public good outweighs.

Mark Cohen, editor said...

Good point. And perhaps the bad taste in my mouth is just the coleslaw ...

I agree that there are far too many people without wills out there. Perhaps this provides the encouragement some need.