Plane going down

I'm on a flight from Boston to New York and the flight is bumpy as hell.

We are on our way to Disney in Orlando but we have a layover at JFK. I am not exaggerating when I say we are bouncing all over the place.

I fly a lot. I mean, a LOT. I’ve been through every type of weather. So for me to feel like something is wrong, there’s a good possibility I’m right. And If I am, then we are all going to die.

We are heading to a business conference on “the Disney Way” so my leadership team is with me. But since it’s Disney, my family is with me as well.  While I was seriously contemplating the possibility of us all crashing into the Atlantic Ocean, I started to think about what would happen. It’s the nature of my business.

That’s when I realized that I need to follow my own advice more.

The estate planning lawyer has a gaping hole in his estate plan. Really, a couple of holes.

If we go down, what happens to my business?

I have a plan in place, but everyone named in that plan is on this flight! We have insurance in place; if I die, Nicole gets control of a payout that will allow them to hire a new CEO. Then, when my daughter, Gabby, is old enough, if she wants to take over the company at that point, she can. If not, my share goes to my wife and then my kids. But Nicole and Ashley are sitting on the plane to my left, my wife, Jill, is on my right, and my kids, Gabby and Mike, are behind me. If we all go down, what happens to the company?

We have key employee Insurance, so there would be money available to replace all three of us. But who makes that decision? My entire succession plan is seated right next to me. And there’s no one else in line. Even I don’t know exactly where that leaves us, other than with a giant mess! This is the first hole that must be filled.

What about my personal assets?

My house, retirement plan, and life insurance? Again, my beneficiaries are all sitting next to me. If we are all gone, what happens? My plan doesn’t say. And I would bet that if my plan doesn't say, yours might not either.

If we all go down, who gets it all? My estate plan stops after my wife and my kids. There are no other contingencies. That leaves my mom and my sisters. But there’s no direction of that in my plan. Which means probate, a huge mess, and possible arguments. I want none of that. So that’s the second hole.

What happens next? 

Luckily, we all landed safely. But as soon as I get home, I will update my plan with additional contingencies. Maybe I will change it again when I eventually have grandkids, but for now, I have two holes to fill. I will take my own advice and do it right away – no waiting because other “more important things” come up.

Do you have enough contingencies in your plan? What if you take a family trip? Does your business have a succession plan? What if management is all on the business trip with you? And what if they are ALL on a trip with you like I was?

Review your plan at least once a year.

If you need updates, schedule a Strategic Planning Session with us.

Michael Monteforte, Jr.
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People come to me in trying times and when I tell them I can help them, the weight falls off their shoulders.
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