Late For Your Own Funeral

I first heard the expression “late for your own funeral” from my mom when I was running late as a kid. The younger me thought: “How does a person show up late at their own funeral?” After thinking it through, I figured out what the phrase ironically meant. 

Being late or being on time is an issue that a lot of people are constantly working on. I’m usually on time but like most people, I’m not perfect and will be a tad late from time to time. Sometimes lateness stems from procrastination. Other times the cause of lateness could come from the ambitious effort to do too much in too little time: a common theme in our everything now culture. Then, there is the question of exactly what you are late for: responding to an email? It has now become acceptable to completely ignore or likely not even see an email from a friend or associate. It is presumed the emailer will call, text, message, chat, or email again if it’s important enough. Are you late to appointments? Late to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/social media posts and replies? Late to voicemails replies? Late home from work? Late getting married? Late starting a new career/going back to school? Late starting a family? Late in life…?

As life is busy with many opportunities to be late, there is only so much that a person can do in so little time. As lives stretch longer pushed by medical advances, lateness in a person’s long-term goals, plans, and life events is to be expected. The longer a person’s lifetime, the more likely the chance of incapacity – which may be remedied with simple estate planning solutions to take care of medical or financial issues: like during a hospital visit, or for life support decisions.

The flipside of lateness, and related to the element of procrastination, is the uncanny ability of some procrastinators to work well under pressure. For example, the student who produces a two-week project/assignment on a Sunday night before the project is due then gets a good grade.

We at the Meyring Law Firm help people and families plan their estates, wills, trusts and resolve probate problems. Clients must be ready to acknowledge their own mortality, potential incapacity, and deal with deeply personal family issues so we may effectively resolve problems and give clients peace of mind. This requires actually slowing down for a few minutes even if planning (or probate) is “late” in coming. Dealing with those issues and taking that time is not easy. Our Atlanta estate planning lawyers help clients easily understand and navigate these estate planning, trust, and probate issues.

Recently, this expression, maxim, or phrase about funeral-lateness has taken on a more philosophical and existential meaning for me. I ask: If my funeral is “late” because I have died long after I have turned 100 years old – is that not the act of being “late” for my own funeral? That will be a good thing. That’s a worthy goal to journey toward.

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