I couldn’t personally understand such a tragedy when I heard about this story. It’s a wakeup call to all parents about the immediate need for the guardianship designations and other protections for their children. As a parent, grasping this story in incomprehensible. It makes me think about the responsibility to my children. The moment my wife and I decided to have children we took on a new responsibility. We owe it to our children to make sure we honor this responsibility as parents. It hits home when I think about the procrastinators in this world, including me.
More importantly I was told several times, stories are the best motivators. This story certainly resonates with me and maybe it will with someone you know or someone reading it.
You can read about this story by clicking on the link below or pasting it in your browser, but for the moment let me share with you what transpired. https://www.ohio.com/akron/breaking-news/medina-county-tragedy-child-whose-mome-killed-last-week-by-falling-tree-also-lost-his-military-veteran-father-in-2010.
In a brief moment, while innocently driving down a road, Devon Cook was killed after a tree fell onto the SUV she was driving during a storm. Her one-year old son was strapped into a car seat in the back of the vehicle and survived with only bruises. While a random tree falling on your car while driving is a one in a million story, what makes this story more brutal is that she also had an eight-year-old boy and the story doesn’t end there.
Devon’s husband, Adam Cook and father of the eight-year-old boy, was in the armed forces and died in 2010 while in battle in Afghanistan. The boy will no longer have a father or a mother because of two unfortunate instances. As tragic as this is, it appears that they had not set up any protections for the children, and now the families are asking for assistance. Those people who are now asked to help raise and care for these children will face legal and financial challenges... all while trying to explain to these young children that their mom and dad are never coming home.
As the CEO of Yourefolio and a Registered Representative/Investment Advisor Representative, I encounter many individuals that consistently say, “I haven’t done any planning yet, but I know I need to.” Ironically, I wanted to try Legacy Box® so I could preserve some old photos. I bought the system and magically and the box arrived. It has been sitting on my desk for 6 months. I even put the pictures in the actual box but only went that far. I had to go to the BMV to renew my driver’s license and the lady at the desk asked me “do you have a living will or advanced directives?” Luckily, I do but I asked her how many people respond yes to that question and she said, “50/50 for older people, not so much for the younger ones.”
All of this brings me to a deeper thought while watching this story last night on the news and reading about it today. People simply are not motivated to prepare for their death or unfortunate circumstances. Who would be motivated? Most people don’t want to think about it. Unless they are pushed from someone else, some other reason or a professional, then most of the time they won’t do it. My company, Yourefolio has a few direct to consumer competitors. Unfortunately, and as much as you would think I would like this answer, I don’t. I hear consistently from people using those platforms that “it is a nice offering but most consumers just don’t do it or keep it up to date.”
If you are a person reading this and haven’t set up any protections for your young children, do everyone in your life a favor. PLEASE don’t procrastinate protecting your children. We all protect our home and vehicles with insurance, but really... you would do that before protecting your children? Does that make any sense?
If you are a professional and your client does not have any protections for their children in place, PLEASE push them to do it. As pushy and intrusive as that may sound, you are doing the right thing. You are doing right by their family and their children. Reinforcing that, simple documents and insurance policies can go a long way. We never know when that moment will arise and if you could ask Devon Cook, she would probably say that she never imagined lighting striking her life in the same place twice. Unfortunately, for her family and children it did.