Putting off what we perceive as the uncritical or unpleasant is one of the traits all but the purest among us share. Just google “Procrastination” and “Procrastination Quotes” and see how many hits you get. You find, for example, Hartford’s own Mark Twain, an inveterate procrastinator himself, advises us to “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” Another wit, name unknown, notes, “Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.”
We even found a clip of David Letterman and Sean Connery offering a possible explanation for why we procrastinate. This was much appreciated. (We already miss Letterman and his Top Ten Lists.)
Coincidentally, ala Letterman, our search found a site that provides a list of the top 10 things that cause the 300+ people who were surveyed to procrastinate. One of them? Preparing a will or other estate planning.
Eureka! At last we get to today’s blog topic. Guess we’ve been putting off a difficult discussion.
Truthfully, very few of us want to think about, let alone talk about, the task of sorting out our assets and what will become of them when we are gone. It’s all simply too big, too confusing, and too scary. Yet it has to be done. We know that and, still, we put it off. Why? Turns out a different site provides yet another Top Ten List; and this one addresses the 10 Top Reasons for our unwillingness, our lack of will, to write our will. The reasons people can’t get from “I won’t” to “I will begin planning my estate.” The top ten causes this site lists? At #1 is “they are intimidated by the process” and cresting at #10 is “they don’t want to think about their mortality.” All ten are understandable but not insurmountable.
We actually found multiple sites that address the problem of putting off estate planning. Inspired by these sites, we constructed our own Top Ten List of Reasons based on their perceptions and, more importantly, on our own insights gathered from discussions with clients we have worked with and people we know, like Meghan’s father, who was in the financial planning business for over forty years:
- Youth provides a buffer from any immediate need to plan.
- Hesitancy to talk about death – especially our own.
- Discomfort asking family members or friends to be a part of our planning as guardians or executors, for example.
- Nervousness with meeting with an attorney because it puts us out of our comfort zone.
- Assumptions about the expense of the process.
- Fears about the complexity of the process.
- Confusion from not knowing where to begin.
- Illusion that if we are married we don’t need a plan.
- Perception that only the wealthy need to formally plan their estate.
- Demands of everyday life bump estate planning to the bottom of our to-do lists.
Our list of ten is written in no particular order. The truth is that estate planning is an exceedingly personal endeavor. While many share similar reasons for delaying the process, each individual has his or her own unique situation. Freed Marcroft has the experience and understanding to make estate planning a comfortable, personalized and approachable topic, not a scary, overwhelming or morbid one.
Appreciating the commitment our clients have to their family, friends, and the community, we provide them with a full range of services from simple wills to sophisticated gift and estate tax-savings techniques utilizing trusts and charitable-giving vehicles. We help them analyze and organize their holdings. Today’s the day to eschew procrastination and begin with us the process that, while formal, is also personal and individual.
The only proven way to overcome procrastination is to start. Waiting makes no sense. Life is fluid; it is dynamic, not static. No one day in the future will be more perfect than today is to begin planning. Let us help you initiate and successfully finish the process of leaving a legacy that’s about much more than just your money. Freed Marcroft believes estate planning is not only about transferring your financial assets and personal belongings. It’s also about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: who you are and what’s important to you – your values, insights, stories, and experience. From beginning to end, you’ll feel confident that your estate plan ensures a fitting inheritance for your family and the other people and organizations most important to you.