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Preparing a will and testament is never easy for people, and is often postponed year after year. But the reality is, the sooner you establish it, the easier it will be. A final will and testament is a legal document that outlines how the person wants their personal property, real estate, and other assets to be distributed after death. As a person familiar with document preparation services, this may be something that you want to branch out to. Beginning a business in the document preparation industry may be eye-opening, but to the people needing your services, they will be thankful for the support.
This article will cover general information, risks, and important credit card processing information for those interested in running a business to prepare will documents.
The Will and Testament Document Preparation Industry
A 2019 survey found that while 76% of survey participants believed that having a will is important, but only 40% had one. So, the majority of Americans understand the importance of having a will and testament but haven’t gotten around to doing it. This creates demand for businesses who will help make these preparations. And surprisingly, it isn’t a tough industry to begin in.
It is a common misconception that an attorney is necessary to help prepare these documents. While it wouldn’t be the worst option to reach out to an attorney, a document preparation service can serve the same purpose. In addition to that, these services are often much cheaper overall. All of this is to say there is a business in establishing a final will and testament document preparation service, and it is something that is obtainable to you.
In any new business, however, there are risks and regulations you should be aware of, especially if you want your document preparation business to be lucrative and secure.
Will and Testament Businesses Are Risky
There are a few risks in opening a will and testament document preparation service. Some of the obstacles you may encounter may include:
- Dissatisfied customers demanding refunds
- Changing industry regulations with will and testament services
- Competition with attorneys
- Chargebacks halting your account
In order to begin reducing these document preparation business risks, you must be able to take a multi-pronged approach. Your business needs strong support to stand on and a clear vision to grow into.
Implement a foolproof refund policy for your customers to refer to. Ensure that you have deadlines for which the customer can reach out for a refund and check in with them each step of the way to ensure satisfaction. In some cases, you should be tough on refunds because you will not want to do work for free. For example, if you prepare a will and testament drafts and the customer signs off on their finality, include in the policy that they are giving up their right to claim a refund after signing. That way if something happens and they come back later, you have foolproof protection. But, if a customer demands a refund and is threatening more issues (such as a chargeback), it’s best to honor their refund. It’s more worth it for you to protect your business than to chase every cent.
Ensure that you are following all of the regulations associated with document preparation merchant services. Read the state and federal laws and do your due diligence in research before opening your business. These regulations are not extremely strict, but since you will be dealing in legal documents it would be best to know the ins and outs of the industry.
Be sure that your clients also understand your place in the will and testament industry. This will help avoid confusion and keep your business protected.
To compete with attorneys and other businesses, ensure that your product offers something unique. Perhaps it is a discount for family document preparations or it is the number of drafts your provider, it’s best to stand apart from the crowd. Whatever it is, approach this as you would any business, and find something special to offer.
The best way to start this process is to find out what your direct competition currently offers. This way you can see what does and doesn’t work for them. Make a business plan for how to approach scaling and competing in your space.
The document preparation industry is highly vulnerable to chargebacks. Dissatisfied customers or an incorrect company description may lead to a chargeback for your will and testament business. However the chargeback comes about, once it is in action, you have a low chance to prevent the backlash that comes with it.
The best way to reduce this risk factor is to prevent the chargeback in the first place. Through your high risk payment processors you will be able to setup chargeback protection screening software that will help to notify you of a pending chargeback. This way you have a small window of time to handle it before the bank becomes aware. Adding this onto your merchant account will give you a leg up that no other mitigation procedures provide.
Establishing a Payment Processor for your Business
Due to these risks, it may be challenging to establish a document preparation service start-up with a supporting bank. This is a high risk business and challenges can surface with regulations and payments. Your customers may want to pay over the phone or in-person as opposed to online. Depending on the age and competency of your customers, the preferred payment methods will change and you will need to keep flexible in order to stay ahead. While this is true in any new business, it is especially true in document preparation services.
Consider turning to a high risk payment processing merchant account provider that understands your industry. There are not many document preparation credit card processors due to the industry risks but doing some research will reveal a few.
A reputable payment processor should be able to handle all of your payment needs, including:
- Virtual credit card terminal
- Mobile / wireless terminals
- ACH merchant services
- Fully PCI compliant transactions
Additionally, a high risk payment processing merchant will offer various integration possibilities with your website platform or CMS. Working with a high risk processor mitigates your risk and helps establish your will and testament document preparation business easier.