Putting First Things First: How To Start Estate Planning

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. In it, author Stephen R. Covey takes readers through a step-by-step plan to align their lives with universal principles in order to help them achieve their goals. The third habit is “Put First Things First,” and that is perfect advice for Mississippi residents beginning the estate planning process

Prioritize Your Principles 

As Covey explains, “Putting first things first means organizing and executing around your most important priorities. It is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by the agendas and forces surrounding you.” This is excellent advice as you begin the estate planning process. 

Before the Palmer & Slay team can put pen to paper to craft the perfect estate plan for you and your family, we need to have a conversation about what your priorities are. Some clients want to ensure their child with special needs is well taken care of. Others value keeping vacation property that the family has owned for generations safe from developers. Extremely wealthy families may prioritize wealth transfer and tax savings. Each family is different, so each family’s priorities are different. This is perfectly okay. There is no wrong answer to the question “what are your long-term estate planning goals?”

Before your first meeting with the Palmer & Slay estate planning team, it is a good idea to think about your goals and even jot them down on a piece of paper or in a note on your phone. Focusing on this aspect of the estate planning process makes it a more pleasant task, and having your goals already figured out can speed the process. 

Don’t Let Others Push You Around

The second part of the quote above is critical too. Don’t let yourself be driven by “agendas and forces surrounding you.” In the estate planning context, you need to be in the driver’s seat. 

Don’t let an attorney sell you a cookie-cutter plan that doesn’t address your family’s unique concerns. Keep your priorities in mind and ask how the plan being offered to you specifically addresses them. 

Don’t let your family members or anyone else push you around either. A little nudge to get your plan done is fine, but if your family members are trying to dictate how your estate plan should work and who it should benefit, that is a problem. If you need help distancing yourself from your family’s influence, the Palmer & Slay team can be that buffer. 

Life circumstances can also pressure you into creating a plan you are not satisfied with. For example, being worried about an upcoming medical procedure may be the reason you are finally working on your estate plan. However, you should not let your medical issues distract you from focusing on your long-term goals for your family. 

Preserving Your Wealth. Protecting Your Loved Ones. 

Taking a thoughtful approach to the estate planning process will leave you much more satisfied with the final product. It will ease your mind to know that you took the time to do what is best for your family. The Palmer & Slay team is ready to help you put first things first and deliberately and carefully craft an effective estate plan that fits your family’s unique needs. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.