Why is Estate Planning So Hard? And How to Make it Easy.
You know you need to create a will. Sure.
You've known for a long, long time. But estate planning always drops to the last thing on your list. Why?
It's biology. As humans we're created to pay attention to the fire in front of us, not the obstacle we can't see yet.
We're afraid of pain. The idea of not being with those we love can bring up all sorts of emotions that we don't want to deal with. Generally, we fight or run from something that makes us feel uncomfortable. Fighting can look like denial, and running can look like procrastination. The trick is to utilize our fight response into helping us confront our mortality, and tapping into our flight instinct to quickly complete the death checklist to prepare for it.
It involves complicated family. My husband and I had a hard time deciding who would watch our son if we both passed away at the same time. We have wonderful family and friends, and we would change our mind often based on who we saw interact with him last, values we saw lived out, or ability to take our son to visit the other side of the family. It was a tough decision to make and dragged out the process of completing the will. This is normal. But you have to make a decision. You can always change it later.
Netflix is more fun. Reading through a will and trying to understand legalize is not the Saturday night you look forward to. It's easy to keep kicking that can down the road.
How do we even start? Death seems complicated, and it's appealing to say, "I'll figure it out when I need to." As someone who had that philosophy and sat completely overwhelmed in a funeral director's office as he kindly explained that I could pick a cat urn for my father but there was other options, I emphatically advise learning about end of life planning before you need it.
The great news is that for every step you complete in the book, "A Checklist for Mortals: Preparing for Death's Arrival," you'll make the process infinitely better for those you love the most.
And that's the point.
We choose broccoli instead of chips one night, because we want to fit into our jeans in the morning. We set up automatic deductions to fund our retirement, because we know we can't trust ourselves to resist splurging on jet skis. We wash our laundry Saturday night, because we don't want our coworkers to smell us on Monday.
We do lots of boring, practical, good for us things because we're adults. And we know the unpleasant consequences if we don't.
You can do estate planning when it's a death checklist. I can show you how.