"Indecision is the leading cause of roadkill…” glared a subject line in my inbox recently. Since the day it arrived, it’s been lodged in my head. You see, we witness indecision at Carolina Family Estate Planning on an almost daily basis.
We All Have The Power To Mold And Improve Our Futures For The Better
It starts with having a clear vision of what you DO want and what you DON’T want. Only then can you begin taking measures to make it so. And that’s the exact reason why many people come to see us. They understand that it’s incumbent upon them to take control of their own future well-being and their family’s future well-being.
But, every now and then, someone will end their meeting without making a decision to take action on creating their estate plan. They’ll tell us that they want to “think about it,” perhaps because they are overwhelmed or need some time to process, then life happens and the continual “putting it off” starts.
Getting started and taking action is the hardest part.
When we follow up with people, sometimes six to 12 months later, it’s common to hear they still haven’t done anything about their planning. It’s even more common to see people fall ill or die without having completed their planning and it’s excruciating to watch.
Here’s The Thing: Inaction And Indecision Are A Decision--a Decision To Do Nothing
In the past weeks, three very different individuals with different situations can be summed with the following:
CFEP: If you were to have a health situation or long-term care situation, have you considered how you would pay for care or what your care plan would be?
Client: Oh no. I don’t really want to get into that. I plan to stay in my home. I’m never going to a nursing home.
CFEP: We completely understand that, but if that’s your wish, then you are the best person to advocate for yourself and put a plan together that reflects your care wishes and contains a plan for how to pay for in-home care.
Client: Well, for now, my plan is to just take care of myself and hope for the best. (Or a common alternate response is some vague statement or reference to “just take me out in the woods and shoot me” or similar, to which we regularly remind people that: (1) That’s not realistic because if you’re incapacitated you won’t have the wherewithal to do it; and (2) it’s illegal.)
The Reality Is That These Are All Avoidance Mechanisms
Most people can’t imagine themselves having a major medical situation or needing long-term care. Or, they are superstitious and think that just by talking about it will make it so (the same way many people avoid estate planning or life insurance because they think it means they’re going to die… Newsflash: we’re all going to die someday!).
Having worked with many clients and families during times of crisis, here’s what needs to be understood: Not having a long-term care plan increases the likelihood that you will end up in a nursing home or assisted living facility. At times it’s unavoidable--either for your safety or for the safety of those around you.
Failing to have a plan also places tremendous stress and financial burden on your family.
- One study found that caregivers have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers.
- Another study reported that 40% of Alzheimer’s caregivers die from stress-related disorders before the patient dies.
- A MetLife study found that the average total financial impact to a family caregiver is $303,880 between lost wages, lost Social Security and pension benefits (due to the lost wages and years out of the workforce), and out-of-pocket expenses.
So at the very least, if you won’t make the decision for yourself, do it for those you love. Now is a great time to get started!
In the words of our Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
We’d love to help you obtain peace of mind and build a more secure future by building a plan for a better life. To get started, give us a call at 919-899-2901.
*We believe strongly in practicing what we preach. Just as we advocate that our clients have an experienced professional guide and mentor them during the planning process, we have our own guides and mentors to help us to continue to grow as leaders in our community and to help us continue to provide a first-class experience for our clients.