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Phone: 201-345-3018

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Procrastination a serious obstacle within estate planning

Few New Jersey readers are completely free from the dangers of procrastination. It is normal for an individual to postpone tasks that he or she feels are onerous, unnecessary or simply undesirable. For many of us, the act of procrastination is elevated to something of an art form, and an elaborate system of excuses are made for avoiding unpleasant responsibilities. That said, not every act of procrastination carries the same weight. For example, failing to clear out one's email inbox does not carry the same weight as putting off estate planning.

For many, psychological barriers impede the estate planning process. We simply do not want to consider the reality of our own eventual demise, which is normal. However, taking this approach ignores the simple fact that the bulk of estate planning efforts are made not for ourselves, but for the loved ones that we will eventually leave behind. Failing to complete the estate planning process can be viewed as a failure to take care of the needs of loved ones.

Another aspect of procrastination is a failure to properly move forward with an unpleasant task. In this way, an individual might recognize the need to create an estate plan, but will put off making an appointment with their attorney. Once the paperwork is finally drafted, many people postpone actually signing the documents. While some will eventually finish their estate plan, many will procrastinate right up to the end, leaving loved ones with little guidance as to how to move forward in the distribution of assets.

The best way to address procrastination is to take action. The course of that action will differ for everyone, but many in New Jersey find it helpful to lay out a list of the required components of the estate planning process, and issue themselves deadlines by which each step must be completed. In this way, the process can be broken down into manageable steps, and progress can be achieved. At the end of the day, it is not how an individual moves forward, but the fact that this need is addressed that is important.  

Source: financial-planning.com, "3 Biggest Barriers to Successful Estate Planning", Paul Hechinger, Aug. 6, 2015

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