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New Year's resolution - putting your affairs in order?

Why we put off protecting our legacy - and how to overcome this.

Seize the Day! Overcoming Procrastination about Protecting your Legacy

How to overcome the impulse to put off important decision, like protecting your legacy.

Here we are after a hopefully restful break over Christmas, approaching the New Year with renewed vigour and probably quite long to-do list. Some of the items on your to-do list may be things you've been putting off, due to that old enemy, procrastination.

Procrastination is probably the stubbornest block to protecting your legacy. We all understand the importance of taking the right steps to protect our own and our family’s future, but somehow this task can keep getting pushed down the to-do list, as more immediate tasks get in the way.

As the New Year gets under way, here are some thoughts about why we procrastinate and some ways overcoming this problem, particularly when it comes to protecting your legacy.

  
Are you procrastinating?

Here are some indicators that you may be procrastinating about putting your affairs in order:

  • Are you giving priority to issues that are more “urgent” but may be less “important”?
  • Has putting your affairs in order been on your to-do list for a long time even though you know it’s important?
  • Are you waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to get started?

What could be more important that securing your own and your family’s future? But there’s plenty of time to get round to it – after all, you’re immortal and immune to ageing or disability, right…..?  

Meanwhile there are those emails to respond to, that filing that needs doing, and this week’s omnibus of The Archers isn’t going to listen to itself ….

 Ask yourself why you are procrastinating about protecting your legacy.

Fundamentally, you’re procrastinating because you’re a human being – but there are specific triggers or blocks that cause us to procrastinate, and it helps to work out what’s blocking you.

  • Is it because this task feels unpleasant? There’s no denying that there are unpleasant aspects to planning your future. Thinking about what the consequences might be if something happened to you is hardly fun. And what about the cost?  
  • Is it because you don’t feel organised? If you don’t feel like you are organised, it can be easy to put off important issues like putting your affairs in order. Organised people tend not to procrastinate because they have they have their to-do lists sorted in order of importance, and plan when they are going to accomplish each item.
  • Does this feel like an overwhelming issue to tackle? You might doubt that you have the personal strengths to deal with putting your affairs in order, and instead seek comfort in tackling easier issues you know for sure you can handle.
  • Do your decision-making skills need a boost? If you just can’t decide what to do for the best, you are likely to put it off in case you do the wrong thing.

How to overcome your blocks to protecting your legacy:

Get in touch with your motivation.

What is important to you?

  • Making sure your other half is secure?
  • Protecting and providing for your children? Retaining control of your finances?
  • Making sure your wishes as to your lifestyle and health are respected?
  • Safeguarding your business?
  • Safeguarding your home?

Think about the unpleasant consequences of not protecting your legacy. Might you pay more inheritance tax than you need to? Are your assets at risk of being swallowed up in care costs in later life? Would your children lose out if you remarried in later life? Could your child’s inheritance be swallowed up by divorce or debt? Could your business survive if you weren’t there to take care of it?

 If you’re putting it off because it feels unpleasant, it’s all about perception:

You’re probably underestimating the unpleasantness of the task. This is where sympathetic support from a supportive professional is so helpful. Smart estate planning begins with a conversation. What may seem like the prospect of a challenging exploration of death and disability becomes a positive and productive conversation about the possible, your future, what’s important to you, and how you can take control of your destiny.

Sometimes the “unpleasant” aspect can be financial, due to a fear of the cost of taking the action. This is so often overestimated. Certainly, to do proper justice to your family and your assets will involve making a financial investment. But the typical outlay is around a half of a percent of net worth.

If you’re putting it off because you feel disorganised, It’s all about priorities and planning.

Make a list of all the important things you want to accomplish, and sort them in order of importance rather than urgency -  see how near top the top of the list you find protecting your legacy and future-proofing your family.

Plan to take the first step – that might be making a phonecall or sending an email to a professional who can help you.

If it feels overwhelming, it’s all about getting support.

Enlist the help of a professional you trust and feel comfortable with, who explains things to you in plain English and doesn’t bombard you with legalese or tax-speak.  

Have a structured consultation, either over the phone or in person, to help you see clearly where you’re at now, what’s important to you, and what you want to achieve.

If it’s hard to make a decision, it’s all about getting advice and information.

Browse the free legacy advice and information that’s laid out for you on this website. Knowledge is power.

Take advice from a trusted professional about what’s desirable, possible and affordable. This will help you narrow things down to a couple of options, which will help you think clearly about what suits you best.

Eat an elephant beetle first thing!

The hardest thing to do is to take that first step. One of the wisest proverbs about overcoming procrastination is “eat an elephant beetle first thing”, which means conquering your least desirable task first thing in the morning so you don’t have to carry the load in your mind with you all day.

So, make an appointment with yourself for 9am on the next available day, to call or email the trusted professional of your choice, and ask for the support and advice you need.

Our initial consultations are complimentary and take place in private at a time to suit you. So if this is the year you seize the day and take that first step towards controlling your destiny and securing your family’s future, go ahead and eat that elephant beetle – give us a call on 0151 601 5399 or fill in the contact form below, and access the support and guidance you need.

"I am a retired divorcee with a complicated family situation. Allowing my estate to be distributed in line with to the intestacy rules when I am gone would not have been a fair reflection of my wishes, so I knew it was vital that I make a will. I wanted to ensure that particular members of my family were provided for. I also have a child who is self-employed, and I was worried about providing for her in case her business failed and her inheritance was seized by the Insolvency Service. Will Written have created an estate plan for me that places my assets into a trust when I am gone, so that the trustees can manage my assets and keep them in the family."

John M

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