Thursday, October 3, 2019

Worst Case Scenario and a Flock of Wild Turkeys

Glancing out my kitchen window early this morning, coffee in hand as I kick-started my day, I noticed "the boys" were in our driveway.  Over the summer months a flock of 5 to 7 wild male turkeys became "the boys" in our household as they made daily visits and precarious crossings of the fast moving artery on which we live.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed my husband was set to leave for work, it was a great day for his 8-mile commute along Madison's bike paths.  Without thinking I warned "be careful when you take your bike out, when "the boys" get confused they run in circles and the last thing we need this morning is a couple of turkeys dashing into our garage!"  As we move into our 14th year of marriage my husband has grown accustomed to my dire predictions, yet today he raised his eyebrows just enough to convey "really Melinda, what are the chances?"  My standard response "Well, you married a lawyer.  I was trained to predict the worst case scenario and plan backwards!"  His bike commute started without incident, and no turkey dashed into our garage.  But hey, I was ready for them if they did!

At work, worst case scenario thinking is an asset.

Worst-case scenario is a concept in risk management wherein the planner, in planning for potential disasters, considers the most severe possible outcome that can reasonably be projected to occur in a given situation.  

As an estate planning and probate attorney I know that no one is immortal.  Client meetings start with a discussion what will happen upon the client's death.  Then what happens if the client's heir(s) predecease the client.  "Hmmm, I never thought of that!" is a common client comment.  And that's my job, to think of the scenario they have not.  Without a contingency plan (or two) State Statues may be the default distribution method for their estate, and that can be problematic.  Do you really want the brother you haven't spoken to in a decade to inherit if you children do not survive you?  What would it mean if you sister, who survived a horrible motorcycle accident and is now receiving care through Medicaid, might inherit?  It's a way of thinking that clients seek out, and spouses find mildly amusing when a brain envisions a flock of wild turkeys running into our garage.

Thanks for reading.  As a reminder a blog is meant to spur thought and discussion, it is not a source of legal advice.  Please consult an attorney licensed in your state of residence for legal advice specific to your situation.  And beware of urban turkeys!

Written by Melinda Gustafson Gervasi
Oct. 3, 2019

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