Benjamin Franklin said, “but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
We all know that someday we are going to die. In that way, it is completely predictable. Yet, since none of us know precisely when we will, we often feel that death is very unpredictable.
Often my estate planning clients report that they have been thinking about doing estate planning for quite some time, usually years. Sometimes, decades. Yet, like many important things, it is easy to procrastinate. There is usually nothing demanding that we get it done this week, month, or year.
This procrastination is often overcome when a loved one dies, a medical challenge arises, or the encouragement (also sometimes described as nagging) of children finally triumphs.
Recently, a friend’s mother contacted me for some estate planning. The mother’s husband had just passed away at age 92… with no estate planning. The deceased husband’s estate now had to be divided between his current wife and his children from his prior marriages. It was mess.
The question that crossed my mind is, “At what age should he have stopped procrastinating and done some estate planning?” When he retired seems like a really good time to start the planning process. Likewise, when he remarried. And when he turned 70… and 75… and 80… and 85… and 90!
Often I tell people, “The only time you need to do estate planning is the day before you need it. Yet, since we never know when that day will be, the time to do it is now!”
If you are reading this article, it is likely that you or a loved one is procrastinating estate planning as well. I encourage you to stop procrastinating. Pick up the phone, make the call, get the process started, and take a step towards planning and peace of mind.