The Cure for Back to School Excuses

I just moved my 18-year-old son to his college dorm last weekend. The beginning of September always brings with it a lot of groaning from the back-to-school set. After months of fun and freedom and sleeping late, they have to go back to doing hard things, and boring things. You hear a lot of those two words: hard and boring.

As Estate planning attorneys, we hear a lot of similar excuses from people who have not yet created their estate plans; that thinking about beneficiaries and trustees and healthcare agents is hard, and that reviewing all that legal language is boring. And you know what? They’re right.

When it comes to necessary tasks left undone, attorneys hear as many excuses as teachers. We hear everything from “I’m too busy right now” to “We don’t have enough assets for an estate plan,” or “I’m as healthy as a horse”. And of course we hear “we just can’t afford it at this time” or "I just can’t decide on my beneficiaries right now." Our firm understands these roadblocks, and we are not unsympathetic. We know that schedules are hectic and money is tight—we too have families and commitments. But we also know what sad consequences can come from avoiding creating your estate plan.

Putting off your estate plan is only passing the financial and emotional burden on to your heirs. Instead of leaving a loving legacy, you’ll be leaving them with a difficult and expensive probate process, one that could have easily been avoided by contacting an estate planning attorney early, when you’re healthy and able.

Just as children struggle with Algebra and Classic Literature, we know that thinking about assets and heirs (and your own mortality) is a struggle as well. But we continue to educate our children because we know that the alternative maybe a tragic unpreparedness later in life. The same is true of putting off your estate plan. So do for yourself what you would have your children do for themselves; put away the excuses and invest in your future.