• Dave's Debacle
  • June 21, 2011
  • Law Firm: Mularski Bonham Dittmer Phillips LLC - Gahanna Office
  • (Another True Story of Failing to Plan - Happy Ending, this time.)

    Dave is 63, divorced, and semi-retired from a very successful career. He has accumulated a substantial net worth. Last winter, he decided to go to Florida and stay with some friends. He met a nice lady and they became companions.

    During one of their excursions, Dave started feeling bad. Finally, it was serious enough that Dave had his lady friend drive him to the hospital. He started exhibiting the symptoms of a stroke, characterized by a splitting headache. Eventually, his condition degraded to the point that he could not make decisions for himself.

    Doctors, assuming the companion was his wife, started looking to her for decisions. When they found out they were only friends, the doctors were stunned. The companion knew Dave had married daughters, one in Texas and one in Colorado, but knew only first names. She had no idea how to contact them.

    Dave’s condition required immediate brain surgery to save his life and the surgery was performed. Fortunately, Dave recovered marvelously. Dave is a deeply committed Christian and has been careful to praise God for bringing him through the situation. However, he wanted to make sure that there was never another time where his family members could not be contacted in the event of a medical emergency.

    Dave had never had a will, let alone a power of attorney and advanced health directives.

    All that changed. He established a trust, will, durable power of attorney, and advanced health directives (living will and power of attorney for health care). Since Dave has the desire, the financial ability, and now, the health to travel, the recommendation was made that Dave provide his daughters with copies. He was advised that he should keep a copy of the living will and power of attorney for health care in his car trunk, where it would be available on short notice.

    Not every situated like the one Dave experienced will turn out so well. Even the police would have had trouble locating next of kin if Dave’s condition would have gone the other way. Now, he has planned for the worst but is expecting the best! He has provided the tools for others to help if he needs it.

    Lots of people need to take the precautions that Dave has taken. Like Dave, you need to consider remembering your favorite ministries in your estate plan. You can make a ministry the beneficiary of a bequest in your will or trust. You could designate a ministry as a partial beneficiary of your retirement plan (which will save greatly in taxes) or your life insurance.