Four ideas to help you finish your estate plan

An odd thing happens in my practice sometimes.  People pay me money and then disappear without getting what they came for.   Here’s how it happens:

A couple comes in to talk about doing their estate plan.  They tell me, sheepishly, that they have been meaning to do this for a long time but are only now getting around to it.  I assure them that is more common than they think, and tell them that the only thing that matters is that they are getting it done now.

We talk about what they want, they write me a check for half the fee, and a week or so later I send them rough drafts of all their documents.

Then I wait.  And send them weekly emails asking if they have questions.

Sometimes, I wait for a few months.  Sometimes I wait longer.  Sometimes I get a response when I say “Please let me know if you intend to complete this plan so that I can keep your file open.”

And then there are a few clients who I never hear from again, despite the fact that they have already made a financial comittment to the project.

These experiences make it clear that it is really hard for a lot of people to write their will.

I offer these tips to help you get to completion on this project:

1. Remember that perfect is not the goal.  The goal is to make things easier on those you leave behind, and almost any plan is easier for your loved ones than having no plan.

2. Also remember that you can always make changes in the years to come.

3. Set a time to sign the documents.  When you first meet with your attorney, make a committment to a specific date for the final signing – then it’s like homework and even if you wind you up pulling an all nighter to get your part of the assignment done, at least it will be done. A sense of urgency can be your friend.

4. Make appointments with yourself – put a time on your calendar to research and choose an attorney, put a time on your calendar to go through the paperwork, put a time on your calendar to review the drafts your attorney will give you, etc.  Treat this with as much seriousness as you would treat a work project.

If you’re ready to get started, give me a call.

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