Whether you are an attorney, financial advisor or planner, insurance producer, or anyone in a perceived position of fiduciary responsibility for your clients, you may or may not realize you have a target on your chest. The mere fact that your clients rely on you for your professional expertise and counsel is enough to make you potentially liable if you fail to provide such guidance.
A Potential Lawsuit
Whether or not you want to believe it, desperate, angry, or frustrated people will lash out and look for the easy target. Any perception of malpractice or errors and omissions of an insurance policy makes for an attractive target. After all, many people believe that when all else fails, sue the professional. If his pockets are not deep, you can put your hand in the pocket of the insurance company. While that may sound cynical, it’s simply the harsh reality between defendant’s and plaintiff’s bars.
The Realities of Long-Term Care
Another harsh reality is the devastating cost of long-term care. Many of your clients may not realize the high costs associated with the professional care they will likely need as they age, and they will fail to plan for these costs. The decimation of an estate and/or the continuing need for additional ongoing care could certainly prompt people with whom you have previously had a solid, professional, and often personal relationship to turn on you out of necessity.
Put the Client’s Interests First
The key to avoiding this unfortunate, lose-lose situation is to always place the client’s interests first. You don’t want to be in the position of defending a lawsuit 20 or 30 years down the road brought by the children or heirs of someone who you did not advise to protect themselves, their estate, and their legacy against the ever-increasing costs associated with long-term care.
Offering Long-Term Care Insurance
One way you can address your clients’ needs is to include a discussion of available long-term care insurance options in your annual reviews. If you are not certified to offer these product solutions yourself, align your practice with an established long-term care advocate who can become your strategic partner or in-house member of your staff to fill this critical need. In the event your client declines to discuss this with you or your strategic partner, we recommend that you obtain a waiver or disclaimer in which clients affirmatively state they decline to explore these available options.
By having these discussions, not only does the client protect themselves, their estate, and their legacy, but you also avail yourself of an additional revenue stream. Additionally, you insulate yourself against a potential and equally devastating mass of long-term costs.
Talking to your clients about long-term care insurance is absolutely the right thing to do in order to protect them as well as their loved ones against the accompanying potentially devastating effects. In doing so, you are also fulfilling your responsibility to protect your business from a potential lawsuit down the road.
Do you have questions about long-term care insurance?
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Don spends much of his time speaking with attorneys and legal professionals about the importance of incorporating LTCI into their practices. Don also writes articles and develops educational materials demonstrating the value of LTCI to professionals and their clients.