Define Yourself and Your Legacy by Your Decisions


Avoiding tough decisions can be hazardous to your future.  Studies show that we regret the failure to act more than any other kind of mistake.  

That means failing to make an estate plan should be even more embarrassing than that time in law school when I showed up exactly one week early for a reception at the Dean’s house. (“Where is everybody?”)

 People avoid regret by getting the important decisions right.  They see decisions as opportunities. Rutgers University put it this way:

“Ultimately, making decisions and taking a stand are ways of forming and establishing an identity. Whenever you make statements about yourself, you define yourself for you and others.”  

Few decisions define people more than determining the legacy they want to leave behind.  True, making important decisions requires effort, but it probably takes less time and energy than most people put into picking a vacation spot or choosing a new cell phone. 

Following are suggestions to help get estate planning done:

  • Remember to Keep Decisions Tentative

Many estate planning decisions can be changed in the future.  An imperfect plan is better than no plan at all.

  • Take One Step at a Time

The question is not “when can I finish” but “when can I start?”

  • Set a Target Date

Even if it means waiting to the last day to pick up the phone, deadlines help to get things done.

  • Get Away For the Weekend

A weekend vacation that combines R&R with time for quiet reflection can be the ideal environment for making estate planning decisions.


Avoiding decisions lets others determine how you will be remembered.  Instead, define yourself by your decisions.  And decide to start now.

Creative Commons License photo credits: striatic and B Rosen

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