My client died.
Actually it was “Mary* has passed away.” Those were the words Julianne, her branding coach, used to inform me that one of the sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with was no longer on this Earth.
What? When? How? And eventually, what do I do with her business? These were the questions I asked. I only ever really got an answer to "when?" A year later and I realized I was still an admin on one of her Facebook page.
Mary was single, with no children. She also had a brick and mortar business where she lived. I finally broke down and called that office to see if I could get some information.
They really didn’t have much info besides Mary’s mom’s email address and phone number. They told me they would inform me about her funeral services and after a respectful time, send her mom my information. They also asked me to send a copy of my final invoice to them and forward the invoices of any other contractors I was managing on Mary’s behalf. I sent those and asked how they wanted her death handled publicly. Should we post a statement or her obituary on social media? What do I tell her clients and potential clients engaging online?
So many questions. I waited. No statement was to be made. That’s all I got. I let the team know and all work ceased. As time went on, I just ignored the tags of mourners who couldn’t find her private page. Eventually they stopped and there was only the occasional message from Facebook reminding me to post. That was hard.
I still can’t believe it. She was so young, her businesses were taking off....
Recently, I had a chance meeting with Alice, the person Mary had mentioned she hired to help with yet another aspect of her business. We both lamented at how sad a time that was. I was not prepared and neither was Mary.
Now I know... now I ask all my clients pertinent questions to which I will need answers in the event of their death or incapacitation. It seems morbid for kick off call with a VA, but its necessary.
If you need answer these questions for yourself or your clients, click below to swipe my New Client Intake Questionaire to be sure you're prepared for the unexpected.
*Names have been changed.