Our Weekly Tip: Stop Estate Planning Procrastination Before It Starts

Fear and procrastination go hand-in-hand; learn how to prevent both
Someone tapping a pencil on a blank paper while estate planning

Credit: Rennett Stowe

Our Tip of the Week: If you’re prone to procrastinating on projects, especially ones that don’t seem urgent, it can make a simple task take months or even years longer than it should. When you want to draft your own living will or advanced directive, sometimes the hardest part is to start the first sentence. Oftentimes, our procrastination on these tasks stems from being afraid. Death is still an uncomfortable idea for many people, and writing about our own deaths is especially uncomfortable. When you learn how to ease this fear and overcome procrastination, you will gain both an essential estate planning document as well as the peace of mind knowing that your needs are being met.

How-to Suggestion: Use anti-procrastination techniques to overcome your fear. First, acknowledge the reason why you are procrastinating. Is it really because you don’t have enough time in your schedule, or is it because you are afraid? Prioritize other tasks on your schedule so that you have room to complete your advanced directive, then confront your fear head-on. Ask yourself whether it is more important to avoid this fear, or if it would serve you better to simply sit down and finish the document. Next, break your estate planning into reachable, small steps. Start with just one aspect of the document today. If you feel inspired, finish a few more tasks on your broken-down list. Try to get at least one task done every day until it is finished. Lastly, give yourself the comfort and space you need to do this task well. Writing your advanced directive is personal, so trying to get it done at work during your lunch break is not likely the best environment. Instead, pick a place that is both comforting and feels productive.

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