Plan for the Worst and Hope for the Best

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What does the death of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds teach us?


A motto we truly believe in and have stressed to every client as we meet to create their estate plan is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  Did Carrie and Debbie plan for the worst and hope for the best?  Can you imagine losing two generations so suddenly and within days, weeks, and months of each other, with no estate plan for either?  We can tell you, it would not be a very smooth transition for those left behind. We never think the worst-case scenario will happen to us, but, trust us, we’ve seen it.  It’s been said that a parent should never have to bury their child.  We agree, but it does happen.  No one could have foreseen Carrie Fisher dying before her mom, Debbie Reynolds.  Carrie was only 60 and Debbie 84.  Both had extensive careers in the entertainment industry and even had a documentary coming out together soon. Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose the time or manner of our passing.  In fact, we have a client that lost her child and grandchild within a month of each other, and she is in her eighties!  No one would have ever thought that would happen, but it did.  Fortunately, she listened to our advice when we were planning for her estate, and we planned for the worst.  We had her ducks in a row and, at least from a financial standpoint, the order of her heir’s deaths didn’t affect anything.  The same thing can be said in Carrie and Debbie’s case.  It appears that their plans were in order and their assets will pass equally to Debbie’s remaining child, her son and to her only grandchild, Carrie’s daughter.  In Carrie’s case, her assets will be distributed to her surviving daughter.  Since Debbie’s son has no children, then her assets will ultimately pass to Carrie’s daughter as well.


That’s the true value of a good plan- when life hands you the unexpected (and when does it not?) then you can rest assured that the plan is there to take care of what you didn’t account for and make sure your wishes are carried out as planned.  We all have unexpected bumps in the road, be it a death, illness, expense, etc., but a good plan makes the difference between these difficulties being manageable and becoming catastrophic.  We can’t plan for everything, but we can plan for enough that we make the best of a bad situation when one presents itself.  It is a good idea to have a respectable, knowledgeable partner that will help with these difficult arrangements.  At ONST, we’re here to help you plan for those contingencies you may not have thought of or may not know how to plan for properly.  We can help you plan and implement that plan to smooth out those bumps in life’s road when they come along.  We’ll be here for you and your heirs from cradle to grave and beyond!


Old North State Trust, LLC (ONST) periodically produces publications as a service to clients and friends.  The information contained in these publications is intended to provide general information about issues related to trust, investment and estate related topics.  Readers should be aware that the facts may vary depending upon individual circumstances.  The information contained in these publications is intended solely for informational purposes, is proprietary to ONST and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete or timely.