LESSON PLAN: LEARNING FROM MY CHILDREN ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING
TEACHER: MAUREEN CLANCY
GRADE: COLLEGE FRESHMAN
FORGET THE LISTS - JUST DIVE IN
In June I am hosting a client appreciation party at my house. Once I set the party date, I started thinking about the preparations. As I looked around, I noticed how much wear and tear six people (my family) can have on one old house. Which brought me to one reoccurring thought, “WHAT HAVE I DONE!” I cannot host a client party in my house’s present condition. I need to clean it. Not just clean it but Harney (my maiden name) deep clean it.
A PATSY AND JACK HARNEY CLEAN
My parents loved to clean. Growing up, every spring my mom and dad would spend days washing every wall (that was not sporting wallpaper), cleaning every double hung window, steaming every thread of shag carpet and wiping every inch of fake fireplace. Plus, all of the living room furniture would be rearranged into some new configuration. A sort of 1970s very low budget redecoration.
CLEANING LAUNCH DATE
So, for weeks I thought about the best way to deep clean my house. I set a cleaning launch date and I created a list of all the rooms to clean. This led to a sub-list of each room’s chore and a sub-sub list of the chore order. The closer my cleaning launch date approached the more lists I created.
Then my cleaning launch date arrived, and I DID NOTHING! No wall washing, no window cleaning and no fireplace wiping. No cleaning whatsoever. Day after day, I came up with one excuse after another and kept putting off the launch date. Truth be told, deep cleaning my house seemed like an unpleasant, overwhelming task that I just did not want to start. (Clearly, I am not my mother’s daughter.)
Enter Maureen Clancy. After finishing her college exams, my daughter Maureen cleaned out her dorm room, moved all her dorm stuff and the furniture she bought second hand to her new apartment. She then helped her summer sub-letters move in. Finally, Maureen caught a late-night flight home to Chicago.
So, of course, I expected Maureen to sleep in the next day and accomplish very little at home. To my surprise, the next morning Maureen woke up and started cleaning her entire childhood bedroom. She went through every drawer, washed down all the bookshelves and even cleaned hard to reach places in her closet. She was downright inspirational!! (Clearly, she is her grandmother’s granddaughter.)
Watching Maureen clean was a great lesson for me. She did not make any lists or spend days contemplating the best course of action. She just GOT IT DONE! I am sure she would have rather done almost anything else, but it was important for her to start the summer fresh, so she prioritized cleaning.
LAUNCH DATE REDUX
That night I started the deep clean of the Clancy house.
I liken my delay in deep cleaning my house to the delay Mike and I experienced in drafting our estate plan. We knew the estate plan needed to be done. We may have even put it on a list of things to do at some point. But similar to deep cleaning my house, estate planning seemed like an unpleasant, overwhelming task that we just did not want to start.
START WITH A PLAN, NOT A HEART ATTACK
Unfortunately, it took “extreme inspiration” in the form of Mike’s heart attack to force our hand to draft an estate plan. Creating our estate plan was a lot easier and less time consuming than we thought it would be. Once we took that first step toward getting it done, the rest was easy. Happily, we now have a guardianship designation in place for Luke, our remaining minor child, and our family will be protected in the event of another unexpected incident.
Take a lesson from a Clancy (Maureen Clancy) and prioritize your estate planning to start the summer fresh with one task off your to do list. You won’t regret it!
Thanks Maureen Clancy!