My heart goes out to those who have been affected by hurricanes and other disasters recently. We have heard from many clients and colleagues whose family members were in the path of either Harvey, Irma, or Maria last month, and thankfully, everyone we’ve spoken to is doing okay, though not all were completely unscathed.

There was an interesting phenomenon that kept coming up as I monitored the forecasts last month, and it got me thinking. You may remember, as Irma swept in, the National Hurricane Center put out reports several times a day about where the eye of the storm was headed. The pictures looked vaguely like a bent ice cream cone. The pointy part was where the eye was currently, and the cone extended all the way to a “scoop” at the end—a large circle that represented where the eye might be a few days from now. They kept calling this projected path “the Cone of Uncertainty” because they couldn’t predict exactly where in that region the eye of the hurricane would hit.

That got me thinking: during a disaster, the Cone of Uncertainty is the last place you want to be. Taking the term literally, you ultimately don’t want to be where the hurricane is likely to go. But to use a little literary license, also consider this: in the midst of turmoil, the people who fare the best are the people who have planned ahead.

Of course, there is an Estate Planning tie-in. We talk about this all the time. If you don’t establish certainty about what you want to happen with your health and finances, the alternative is pretty lousy. For anyone in the Cone of Uncertainty about their Estate Plan, Estate Planning Awareness week is October 15th-21st. We have a seminar on the 19th. You should come!

Estate Planning aside, last month was a powerful reminder about Emergency Preparedness. While we weren’t sure where Hurricane Irma was going to land, Jackie and I took some time before the storm to review our own plan. It was too late to get milk, bread, and eggs. But we did take the time to fill up jugs of emergency water and stock emergency kits around the house with flashlights, batteries, and other supplies. We also went over our family emergency plan: a written document to remind us whom to call and what to do in the case of fire, flood, or other disaster.

You can and should have your own Emergency Preparedness plan for your family. This is doubly true if you have family members who need extra help. May this material give you and your family certainty, comfort, and hope if you find yourself in need.

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Dan Bedard
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