Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, October 28, 2013

Helping Grieving Clients


Advisers who know how to help clients while they’re grieving usually have a client for life.  Whether it’s a death, divorce, retirement, empty-nest, or suicide, here are five ways to help grieving clients:

  1. Bring up the incident.  Once you name the incident, the elephant in the room will soon disappear.
  2. Hands off the tissue box.  Handing the client a tissue box will take away their control and send the message that they should stop crying because you’re uncomfortable.  Let the client tell their story and let the grief out.
  3. You don’t know how they feel.  Saying “I know how you feel” trivializes the incident.  Instead, allow their experience to be different and let them tell you about it.
  4. Get fears out in the open.  You probably won’t be able to get rid of your client’s fears, no matter how irrational they may be.  Instead, get their fears out in the open and let them know you will be there in the long run.
  5. Expect different styles of grieving.  Not everybody goes through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in that order.  Don’t judge anybody’s particular way of grieving.

See Diana Britton, Five Ways to Help Grieving Clients, Wealth Management, Oct. 23, 2013.


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