From the Desk of San Diego Estate Planning Attorney, Kristina Hess Haymes
Ideals are good. Standards are Good. Excellence is Good. We are called to do well and be excellent. For sure!
But sometimes our desire to have things “just right” or “perfect” can be a real hindrance.
Can we be real?
In preparing estate plans for San Diego families, I see this frequently in my office. I am going to use the collective “us” and “we,” because I can certainly identify with these scenarios.
Sometimes our desire to have it just right might hold us back from having it at all…
What if you like the idea of recording a video to begin leaving a library behind of your intangible wealth for your children and (perhaps future?) grandchildren… but you don’t look quite right. Or, you don’t quite know what to say? Or, maybe you don’t want to record anything that personal (and potentially emotion inducing) in front of someone you don’t know that well.
I get that. But are you really going to do it on your own at home?
Or, maybe you and your spouse really know that you need to nominate guardians for your children (people who could raise your child or children in the event that you are unable to) but there just isn’t that perfect person or couple.
The truth is there is no perfect person that is not you! There just isn’t. Parents can be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to replace. But, the alternative to not legally nominating long term guardians for you children, is that you are taking a huge chance that nothing happens to you and your spouse before your child or children are adults! Are you willing to play the odds with the lives of your children? I mean, if you are gone, there is a default plan — a judge will decide who will raise your children.
But wouldn’t you rather have an imperfect plan then leave it up to a judge?
When it comes to back up parents for our children, perfect probably isn’t an option.
In this case, an imperfect plan is hands down better than no plan. Who knows in your circle of family memberswho would step forward to volunteer to raise your children? And, who knows how good someone may look on paper when the reality can be far different. Maybe you are assuming that both sides of the family would handle a difficult situation with grace and love, but that is often not the case.
Again I say, this is a situation where an imperfect plan is better than no plan.
Are there other ways that a desire for perfection is holding you back? Sometimes, we just have to get over ourselves and get something done. Sometimes imperfect is much better than waiting for perfection. Perfection doesn’t even really exist anyway.
I ran across an interesting book not to long ago called Wabi Sabi Love: the Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships. The author’s work is based upon “the ancient Japanese aesthetic known as wabi sabi which honors all things old, worn, weathered, imperfect, and impermanent. In fact, it seeks to find “beauty and perfection in the imperfections.
Of course, like anything, the application of the concept is context specific. But there is something really powerful about love and acceptance of our humanity in all of its imperfections. You can apply this to your relationships (when they are not harmful of course) and the people in your lives. You can apply this to tackling something that may seem overwhelming like legal planning for life and death.
Is your desire or need for perfection standing in your way? Is it blocking your path to getting your estate planning done, loving those around you, making sure you show your love by making things as easy as possible for those you care deeply about if you are no longer here?
hmmm, love, acceptance, honor … imperfect people.
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San Diego Probate and Trust Attorney, Kristina Hess Haymes