I had a college professor who gave only semester-long assignments. No daily or weekly homework or reading. Rather, he would start each semester with the assignment of whatever essays, projects or research we would be required to complete, and then say no more about it during regular classes. Students were expected to responsibly progress toward completion of their assigned projects without reminders or check-ins throughout the months-long semester.
The only reminder was a sign posted in the classroom, containing these words, “Procrastination is the Primrose Path to Destruction.” He pointed it out on the first day, when the assignments were made.
Inevitably, some students would put off the work, and find themselves in a mad scramble at the end of the semester in a frantic effort to get everything done before the deadline. You’d see them and hear their complaints about this massive project that was “unfairly” thrust upon them … as if they hadn’t been warned, or they had somehow forgotten that time passes whether you do anything or not. In any event, it was a lesson in accountability and personal responsibility. The lesson was learned, either the easy way or the hard way, but learned nevertheless. Putting things off does not end well.
I think of this advice often. It comes to my mind every time I work with a family who are cleaning up a mess of financial and personal matters after the death of a loved one. The loved one who didn’t seem to have any system for managing their affairs, and never took the time to write even a simple estate plan. Maybe they just kept putting it off and agreeing that they would do it “someday.”
Just as inevitably as the end of the semester comes for students, so comes the end of our lives. It is inevitable. As they say, “no one is getting out of this alive!” We know it. We know for certain that, eventually, death will come, and there will be affairs to be cleared up. The question is whether we choose to prepare and make things easy for our families, or procrastinate and enjoy the primrose path that leads to destruction. In the case of the students, “destruction” means a poor grade. In the case of life, “destruction” means the loss of significant portions of our estate that must now be expended in order to finally settle our estate. The same lesson is learned.
At this time of year, a phrase enters our language patterns; “I’ll take care of that after the first of the year.” As if some magical thing is going to occur on January 1 that will suddenly provide us with the time and energy needed to complete the task. We all know there is no magic to January 1 – it is simply the “next day” – yet we push things there. Why? It’s a convenient method of procrastination! Unfortunately, and inevitably, the 1st of the year comes, and now we have a big pile of un-done to-dos that we’ve put off for no real reason. So we put some of those things off a bit longer. Including that Will we promised to get done this year.
Procrastination is the Primrose Path to Destruction. Start the process now, and you’ll be checking that task off your list before the 1st of the year. No procrastination = no destruction.
To get your estate planning done once and for all this year, contact us by clicking here and giving us a little information. Or you can call us at (317) 863-2030
Susan Hunter, Esq.