Why You Can’t Wait Another Day and What to Do

It’s been *crazy* around here, seriously. Yesterday was a very long day, so my husband was rushing to leave work to make it home to help me with the dinner/bath/bedtime routine. Here I was wearing the baby in the Sakura Bloom sling, not because I happen to be in the Babywearing Triathalon, but because, after about a month discovering the joy and ease of babywearing, I can no longer imagine life without it:
On his way out the door, a work colleague stopped my husband for a moment to talk. Had that person *not* stopped him, my husband’s might have been the car that was hit head on in a near fatal accident, instead of that 34-year-old father of a 3-week-old baby’s in front of him. My husband called me from the scene and described it to me.

He was driving along listening to the radio, when suddenly he saw a flash and then debris flying everywhere. A truck crossed the yellow line and plowed headfirst into the car immediately in front of his, before veering off the road into the woods and hitting a tree. My husband saw the man who was struck get out of his car dazed, shocked, and with some apparent broken bones, but otherwise OK. Together with a woman from the car on the other side of the crash, my husband went to see if there was anyone still in the truck that was now sitting, crushed and compacted, sideways across the road. He told me the driver’s body was “bent in a way a human body should not be bent.”

The firefighters were finally able to pry the door open and remove the driver’s mangled body from the wreckage. Then the paramedics carried off the unconscious 20-year-old woman . According to the news, she remains alive, on life support, in critical condition in a Boston hospital. The cause of the accident remains unknown. My lawyer brain cannot help but wonder whether she has a living will and other medical directives in place, but my guess is that at 20 years old, she does not. My heart breaks for her family.

I am relieved for the family of the man who survived that crash with only broken bones and was able to go home to his wife and their 3-week-old baby, and thankful beyond my ability to adequately describe that my husband was not hurt or worse and that I was not left widowed with three children between 2 months and 5 years of age. I am so grateful that I just recently reviewed our personal estate plan and revised the documents so they would be current and effective. It had been three years and as always, so much had changed in that time, including a new baby. When was the last time you dusted off your own estate planning documents to ensure that they will still be effective to accomplish your goals?

I was comforted knowing that had he been hurt in any way, my husband has solid medical directives firmly in place, and cards in his wallet to inform emergency responders about our minor children, whom to contact in an emergency, and to provide immediate access his medical directives from virtually anywhere in the world. No one wants to think about such horrid things or entertain the possibility even for a second that it could happen to her, but the reality is, accidents DO happen. It is absolutely imperative to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You cannot put off making sure you have your affairs in order while you deal first with whatever happens to seem most urgent. You *must* take care of the most important things first. Personally, I cannot imagine anything more important than protecting my loved ones from every having to make horrible decisions about whether to keep me alive, wondering how I would want my babies raised if I were unable to do so myself or what I might have wanted to do with my sentimental personal belongings, and so forth.

I feel so strongly about this, that I am going to make you an offer. If you are a young adult (18 years of age or older) in Massachusetts and you do not already have medical directives in place, please call my office and ask to speak with my Client Liaison, Astrid, to schedule an appointment so you and I can discuss what might happen to you and your family in the absence of those legal documents.

If you are a parent of young children in Massachusetts and you have not already legally named guardians for your children (it’s not enough to just tell someone what you would want), please do so now online at: http://kidsprotectionplan.com/. That is an absolutely essential piece of responsible parenting. You already regularly buckle your children into their safe car seats, make sure their strollers and toys haven’t been recalled for safety faults, feed them healthy food, take them for regular check-ups, childproof your home, and investigate schools and activities. Planning for your children’s temporary and permanent care and protection in the unlikely but possible event of your inability to continue to do so is no different, except for being more important.

Better yet, if you are a parent of young children who (sadly, like most) has not already legally named guardians for your children and does not already have your legal and financial houses in tip top shape, please call my office and ask to speak with my Client Liaison, Astrid, so she can help you schedule a two-hour Peace of Mind Planning Meeting with me so we can start to design a plan to protect your family, provide for your loved ones, and spare them the agony that would be without anything in place.

Please be sure to mention this blog post when you talk with Astrid and she will waive the normal fee for your meeting. You will not have to pay anything for that meeting and if you do not want to move forward working with me, there will be no obligation on your part. But honestly, you can’t afford not to do this planning somehow and not doing it right is just as bad as not doing it at all. I will help make it as easy, painless, and affordable as possible so your loved ones won’t have to suffer and you can rest assured having priceless peace of mind.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, please sign up in the teal box on the left side of this blog (or on my Facebook fan page or on my web site) to receive my free, fun monthly e-newsletter. Until next time, I wish you and your family the very best of health and happiness.


About Danielle G. Van Ess

Danielle G. Van Ess is a Massachusetts (born and raised), experienced estate planning and small business attorney who helps her clients protect and preserve what matters most to them. To learn more, please visit: dgvelaw.com or call: 781-740-0848

3 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Wait Another Day and What to Do

  1. Fabulous post Danielle although I wish you and your husband had not had to have this experience. Hopefully this near miss will help others realize how important this planning is to take care of your loved ones.

    Teresa DeFord


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