We have been discussing emotional elements of the client-advisor relationship recently (see Why Clients Leave an Advisor and Why Clients Leave an Advisor, Pt. 2: Clients Stay When You Care). In this post, we will continue by examining the trauma a client feels when they lose a spouse by death and how an advisor can play a key role in the healing process. Over the years, I have encountered this type of situation on a number of occasions and will share a few relevant lessons.
Special care must be taken when dealing with a client in this type of situation. A basic understanding of human behavior will help deepen your relationships and give greater insight when you encounter a grieving spouse. Our experiences and genetic hard-wiring are the primary factors that influence the way we view the world. As these factors collide, it produces a unique paradigm or belief system in each of us. The result? Some people are more difficult to read while others wear their feelings on their sleeves.
Regardless, a person’s view of the world is revealed by the information they share and decisions they make. We, as advisors, must be prepared to guide our clients through the maze of complexity when death separates them from the love of their life.
Death of a Spouse
The loss of a loving and devoted spouse is one of the most painful events a person will ever endure. Unfortunately, when death occurs, the surviving spouse will have to make a number of decisions. The client’s level of wealth and the amount and quality of advanced planning will determine how well this process flows. This is an opportunity for an advisor to be of great assistance.