On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia airport in New York, NY, bound for Charlotte, NC. It started off as a routine flight, but then it struck a flock of geese. The birds crippled the plane so it was gliding, powerless at less than 3,000 feet over the most populous part of the country.
As the plane shuddered and filled with smoke, what went through the minds of those on board? Did they think about the latest news or sports scores? Probably not. They thought about whether their affairs were in order, i.e. whether their estate planning was done. They thought about their loved ones who might never see them again. And, they prayed.
Think how much easier it would have been for those passengers if they had known their affairs were in order. They would have known that assets would go to whom they should go and how they should go. They would have known their loved ones were provided for and their stories, their legacies, were preserved.
It would have given them more time in (what they thought were) their final moments to concentrate on their thoughts of loved ones…and prayer.
A film about the flight, Sully, is now in theatres. It is a story known and loved by most Americans because it had a happy ending…everyone survived. It is a story of bravery, comradery, and hope. It is a story particularly close to my heart. My cousin was a passenger on that flight.
In life, not all stories have a happy ending. And, “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen…” Matthew 24:36. But, if you plan ahead of time, it likely will make that time much easier for both the person facing it and those around them.
Clients can relate to the story of flight 1549. It shows that the unexpected can happen anytime…and that there is always hope. Think about sharing this story of hope.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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