Have you ever been chided for not doing something on someone else’s timeline? You thought it might be a good idea. You even wanted to do it at some level, yet something held you back. Timing of an action is as important as the action itself. In an initial client consultation, I sometimes hear clients apologize for not being certain whether they want to pursue a divorce or not. Seriously? Is there any other decision, besides whether to marry a particular person, which requires more careful thought?
Conversely, there are tasks we all should attend to, regardless of timing. Everyone ought to have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care decisions, a Power of Attorney for General Business Matters, and a will. No angst over the necessity required—you need one. For these kinds of decisions, take a baby step, attend to the easiest first, but set a deadline just to get started.
Need help? Here are some questions to consider: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/07/24/twelve-estate-planning-questions-that-might-make-you-squirm/. Next simply schedule a meeting with an estate-planning lawyer who can walk you through these and other considerations in a relatively painless fashion. You don’t have to have all the answers now. Just get started. If you don’t, Uncle Sam is all too happy to fill in the gap and make decisions for you.
I recently assisted in the finalization of an adoption. The journey started nine years ago across multiple states. Just prior to the start of this school year, the process was finally completed. I’ve done a lot of adoption work over the years. Each has been special in its own unique way, and I remember each and every baby or child whose life was affected by my work on his/her adoption. But perhaps because of the timing issues in this case, it was uniquely special. They got to this finalization day because at one point they just got started. They gathered information, educated themselves, and persisted.
What are your timing considerations? For more difficult decisions requiring careful thought, take your time. There is no deadline except what makes sense for you and your family. Need more information? Don’t overlook our wonderful library system, which Google hasn’t yet totally replaced. Talk to others who’ve gone before you. And of course, Google too but look beyond the surface slickness of some websites and ask, “What drives this professional from whom I may be taking advice?”
What next step do you need to take? Meghan Lipford and I would be happy to talk with you—when the timing is right.