I recently read a book that I hope will help me both personally and professionally. It is “The Procrastination Equation – How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done,” by Piers Steel. Although the book is more about the science behind why we procrastinate, it does a pretty good job of illustrating that procrastination typically is not because of lack of motivation, but rather the struggle to avoid the temptation of choosing immediate gratification and reward over alternative courses of action that have delayed or long-term effects. A prime example of this is choosing the quickness and convenience of a fast food hamburger, and putting off yet again the promise you made to yourself to improve your eating and exercise habits, even though you know the better choice and long-term reward is to do the latter. This got me thinking about estate planning. We often find ourselves putting off actions we know we should not, and sometimes it can cost us time, money, relationships and also, when it comes to estate planning, peace of mind.
We should all have a well thought out estate plan in place and the plan should be communicated to our family and heirs. Even though we all know it is the prudent and smart thing to do, three out of four people in United States will die without an estate plan in place, often leaving behind disorganized affairs and disgruntled family members. When this happens there is not only a loss of peace of mind, but, not surprisingly, a loss of time, money and relationships when family and heirs are left to battle over matters when there is no clear plan in place. Believe me, I see it more often than I care to, and it is a no-win situation because I am frustrated with post-death administration issues of this nature and the family, obviously, is unhappy as well. A well thought out, implemented and communicated estate plan can go a long way toward achieving peace of mind and maintaining family harmony. That is something we can all agree is in everyone’s best interest. Don’t be a procrastinator. Put your plan in place now, encourage your family members to do the same and, when it comes to your planning, communicate and share your plan with your loved ones. What are you waiting for?