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Changing your mind

How do you change the way you think and feel and behave?

I’m not talking about the “oops!” kind of mind alteration–y’know, the revelatory, slap-your-forehead, “Oh! Of course! How could I have been so stupid!?!” mental shift.

I’m talking about knowing what you need to do–or, even, having a sneaking suspicion that you need to change your way of thinking, but not being able to turn on the light bulb in your brain–i.e., a mind-shift that requires real work. How do you make purposeful, premeditated alterations in your habits of mind, how you view the world, how you think, how you behave?

Legacy planning and estate planning, at its very root, I think, requires this kind of mental change. I mean, if you’re going to do a really good job at writing a plan, it takes more than a couple of hours of casual thinking to work out what you desire to achieve with your wealth; if you have young children: where you want them to go, who you want to take care of them, how you want them to be cared for, etc.; how you want to be cared for if, God forbid, you find yourself incapacitated and requiring long-term care or–forget you finding yourself incapacitated– . . . Suppose your relatives find you incapacitated and incapable of speech or communication: How shall they care for you?

These kinds of questions require some deep and serious thought. And even the most patient attorneys or other professionals–even if you could afford their fees–cannot draw your finessed thoughts out of you in a 2- or even 8-hour interview. And, I dare say, even a week-long retreat dedicated to these matters won’t quite do whatever-it-is you require to come to peace about your true thoughts and beliefs in these matters.

Hey. I’ve been working on my legacy plan–not full-time, but dedicating a few hours a week, on average–for close to three years, now. And, I am embarrassed to admit, my wife and I still haven’t gotten down to business on one of the most important pieces of the plan: the documentation (that would be so helpful to our executors) of where all our key papers are, the list of all our professional advisors, where our safe deposit boxes are and how to gain access, where all of our accounts are–and user names and passwords to gain access, etc., etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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