Falling Trees & Other Reasons to Plan for Your Incapacity

This morning started not unlike most other manic Mondays, except instead of the alarm, it was the almost 6-year-old waking us up to tell us she needed to use our bathroom so as not to wake her still-sleeping sisters, cruelly followed by the first commuter rail train.  Weekday game time!  But then, just as I was ready to meet my personal goal of having all my children appropriately-clothed, well fed, and out the door on the way to school on time with all their various and sundry required accoutrements and supplies, we heard a slam from the other end of the house and lost power.  Then came the sirens (and as we now live in the ‘burbs, this is actually noteworthy, and they respond fast!).

I was relieved when I saw that shutters had blown off the hooks and slammed shut over one window and nothing else seemed awry.  But then there was an ambulance and fire rescue truck, fire engines and police cruisers and… the whole rainy scene lit up from edge to edge of our lot.   Inside I tried to respond to my children’s questions but I didn’t really know what had happened either.

Much later today we learned that a tree fell down in front of or on top of a Mini Cooper car.  There was an ambulance but it seems like the driver’s injuries were fortunately very minor.  Despite a really unpleasant start to the work week, I’m sure that driver is also relieved thinking about how much worse it could have been.  And as I learned what happened I couldn’t help but think, “This is why I do what I do.”  We are all so much more likely to experience an accident and temporary disability and incapacity during our lifetimes than we are to die prematurely that it is of critical importance to plan accordingly.

While we are healthy and in full possession of our faculties we should all take the time and expend the effort (which, by the way, is about the same as dinner and a movie, though granted not as much fun!) to ensure that if something ever randomly happens to us, we have expressed our detailed, personal wishes and empowered the people we know, love, and trust to make highly personal medical decisions on our behalf and spare our loved ones possible in-fighting, agony, and painful second-guessing.

If you haven’t already done so or it’s been more than a few years since you did, please call the estate planning attorney with whom you feel most comfortable and allow her to take that burden off of you and your loved ones.  Then, drive safely and watch for falling rocks, trees, and crazies on the road with us, but rest assured that no matter what, your family will be OK.  As I’ve said before, plan for the worst (better yet, have someone else do that for you!), expect the best, and go about living your life with less worry.

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