Time is a funny thing. We never have enough of it and we always think we have more. When my beloved stepdad died suddenly and unexpectedly, I was on a plane home within hours. On the flight, I remember thinking how that’s it; that is his whole story; from beginning to end. Everything he will do has been done, everything he will say, has been said. Time has taught me, though, that isn’t the whole story, because the way your family and loved ones will grieve and carry on is also part of that story. Part of your story. And that’s why we often call Wills and estate planning creating a legacy. It’s not just about money and material possessions, it’s truly about what your family and loved ones will have to go through when you’re gone.
I share this story with you to help you understand that I take this planning very personally. And why I try to put myself in the shoes of our clients. How would I want to be treated? Or more important yet, how would I want my mom to be treated? Because it certainly wasn’t easy picking up the pieces and sorting through everything when my dad died.
So why do so many people put off this planning? There are so many reasons, but in my experience it boils down to three big ones: 1. You’re unsure of what decisions to make, 2. You’re waiting for future life events, and 3. You think you have more time.
SO first you may be unsure of your decisions. I get it. It’s hard to pick who would raise your kids or handle your money, and maybe your choices aren’t the best. But don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. ANYTHING is better than the nothing you have now. Once you have a Will and a plan in place, you can always make tweaks and adjustments. But don’t leave it up to the state to make these choices for you.
Another common reason people put this off is they are waiting for future life events, such as moving, having more kids, getting married. Maybe in that order. But the only constant is change, so while you may be waiting, in the meantime, if something unexpected happens, you have no plan, not even a temporary one, to make things easier for your loved ones. This can always be adjusted and changed with your circumstances. And you actually can build in a lot of contingencies into your legal planning.
But the biggest reason people put off getting a Will in place is just plain ol’ procrastination. And that, truly, is just about setting priorities and where you CHOOSE to spend your time and money.
So what are you filling your time with instead? What are you spending your money on instead of this investment? And what is an investment? It’s putting something in to get a lot more out. And I promise you, the time you put in to get your Will in place, and the money you invest to do it right with an attorney, will save tons more time and money when they need it most. And frankly, we just don’t know when that’s going to be. Recently, we had three clients die in a matter of a few weeks before they even had time to sign their Wills.
In the end, how we choose to spend our time, how we choose to spend our money, shows what we truly value.
Now, I know VERY PERSONALLY, that these are very difficult decisions to make and I don’t take that lightly. But the fact is too many people die without a Will and all it does is put your family in a bind of navigating the legal process, court delays, possible infighting, and unnecessary costs.
CHOOSE to get this off your to-do list NOW! Because no matter how much TIME you have left, the fact remains that each new day is one day closer to running out.
Your family deserves a better plan. You deserve a better legacy. What are YOU waiting for?
Because if you don’t have a Will, the state of Texas has one for you!