By Jeffery J. McKenna

What does cleaning a dirty garage have to do with estate planning?

It’s spring. I love spring, except for one flaw. I know my wife will request that I join her in cleaning the garage as part of our spring-cleaning.

As I clean the garage, I can think of three similarities to estate planning.

First – Most of us would prefer to procrastinate cleaning the garage.

This is true with estate planning as well. An AARP study found that approximately 60 percent of the adults in the United States have not done any estate planning. A Forbes report confirmed that almost half the adults age 55 and older do not have a will or trust.

Second – Most of us like a clean garage.

I have served clients as an estate planning attorney for 25 years. I have met few people that want to leave a mess for those they love upon their death. It is one thing to leave a messy garage. It is much worse to leave a messy estate, upon your death, to those you love.

Third – Even though cleaning the garage takes time, effort and work, we feel a keen sense of accomplishment when it is completed.

I have done over 3,500 estate plans. I can recall hundreds of comments from clients upon the signing of their documents. They repeatedly state that is was much easier than they anticipated and how great it feels to now have a will and trust for their affairs.

Yes, estate planning does require us to “clean up” our affairs. However, I believe you will find it a lot easier and more rewarding than cleaning the garage.

It’s spring. I will be cleaning my garage. When I finish, I will be glad my wife “strongly encouraged” me to get it done.

If you or someone you know, has a messy or old or NO estate plan, strongly encourage them to “clean it up.” They will likely find it more fulfilling and less painful than cleaning the garage this spring.

Jeffery J. McKenna is a local attorney serving clients in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Barney McKenna & Olmstead, PC, with offices in Mesquite and St. George. If you have questions you would like addressed in these articles, you can contact him at (435) 628-1711 or