Christmas is upon us…in just two days! Christmas carols and songs (like I wrote about in my last blog post) are still playing, but they are soon to end, and we will then all move on to the New Year’s celebration after Christrmas. Sometimes the holidays seem so fleeting and come and go so quickly. I hope everyone has their shopping done, or you have all planned for how to get your shopping done. I hear stories about certain in-laws of mine that like to get their shopping done on Christmas Eve, which sounds exciting and fun to me, but also sounds dicey! Sometimes when shopping at the last minute, the selection of items or options of what to purchase are limited. I know the Colorado Lottery runs commercials telling us that last minute gift shopping is easy if you just get lottery tickets, but I don’t think that is quite what anyone would REALLY want for Christmas!
More recently, I have had people talk about how they ordered something online and the item did not arrive by Christmas. I think that has become even more commonplace with more and more shopping being done online. And, the problem was certainly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I know of one of my friends who ordered gifts on December 22 and was FLABBERGASTED that they did not all arrive on time. I know that Amazon Prime often promises 2 day delivery, but things can get backed up at the end of the year, and delivery times can increase. I have a somewhat unique situation to help with that problem…my anniversary is in early January, and my wife’s birthday is only a few days after that, so if any Christmas gifts are late, or if I forgot something, I can correct the problem within a week or two.
For everyone else who does not have such an easy out, I feel for you. I know that it can be difficult to get all of the holiday celebrations attended, holiday gifts purchased, holiday food cooked, holiday concerts and end of semester school projects done, all in addition to the normal day-to-day activities we have to accomplish. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the days to get everything done. We just end up doing the best that we can, and let the things we cannot get done get pushed a bit further back.
The End of the Year is Not the End of Your Chance to Do Estate Planning
I see this all the time with people who want to get their estate planning done. Many people will call me in early, or mid, or even late December, wanting to get their estate planning done by the end of the year. Many times those who are calling have put off their estate planning for the better part of the year, and want to get their estate planning done as soon as possible when they call. As much as I would love to be able to help all of these people, I also have all of the things shown above to do, and I also need to complete estate plans which were started before the last minute callers arrive. My time is limited, so the options of working with me also become limited near the end of the year.
I am happy to schedule meetings and appointments in the new year to help people get their estate plans done, but I am reminded of a song that we sing in church as the new year begins, called “Ring Out, Wild Bells,” and the line “The year is dying in the night; Ring out wild bells, and let him die.” If I cannot help you by the end of the year, it is likely time to let that time frame go, and simply start off the new year right by getting your estate planning done in the first part of the year, and letting your too late plan of getting your estate plan done by the end of the year die.
The death of a desire to get an estate plan done by the end of the year doesn’t have to be a terrible death, but rather a quick and painless letting go of one year, and moving on to the next year.
You Can Start Your Estate Plan At Almost Any Time
I don’t think the end of the year is such a hard deadline for most people as it sometimes seems to those who call me during December. Many of my clients lament how they put off doing their estate plan for too long. I usually ask them if they are dead, to which they respond, no. I then ask if they are mentally incompetent, which is also usually answered in the negative. Of course, we can joke about whether someone is mentally competent, but usually someone who has come to me to create an estate plan is able to know what they are doing. Once I have asked both of those questions, and received the correct responses, I happily inform them that they are not too late, and, that those are the two threshold requirements to set up an estate plan. We don’t need to start out the process of setting up an estate plan by feeling down, but rather by looking up.
If you wanted to get your estate plan set up by the end of the year, you also don’t need to feel down, as you have the new year to get started on everything! The new year is always a time of New Year’s resolutions – a chance to start over new – and get your estate plan done. I have written previously about how January is the best time to get your estate plan done, so I won’t reiterate that here, but even that can be dicey.
Booking Me Will Take 4 – 6 Weeks
I am booking appointments about 6 weeks out at this point, so if you want to get your estate plan done, you really need to start sooner than you think. I know that 6 weeks can seem like a long time, but as I often say, you want to plan ahead – before the crisis hits – so that you are prepared. I want to help as many people as I can, but I can only help as many as I have time to meet with in a given time period. As much as I would like to be able to meet with multiple people at once, that just doesn’t seem to work out very well. Everyone deserves individualized attention and estate plans just work better when they are customized to each individual.
There Is No Time Like the Present to Start Your Estate Plan
There really is no time like the present to get started on your estate plan. We will get presents for Christmas, but the present is the right time to call and get started with your estate plan. I know I am booking 6 weeks out, and I am sorry I cannot get you in earlier. I am guessing you like me, and possibly even want to work with me if you are still reading my blog post at this point, so let me see if I can help you. Let’s get you on the calendar and get things started. I will share with you a little (not so well kept) secret…if you try to book an appointment or schedule a call back from my website, it will tell you that I cannot talk to you for 6 weeks. But, if you request a call back, or call me and leave a message, I will reach out to you within 48 hours and we can talk. It may be a few weeks before I can get you in for a full initial conversation, but we can get the process started sooner if you request a callback, or call me and leave a message. Don’t let the end of the year deter you. Just reach out to me, and we can set up a time to get your estate planning started!