Over the past weekend, I attended the REO Speedwagon and Chicago concert. At one point during REO’s performance, three of the band members (all guitar players) gathered near the front of the stage, playing some ongoing music but not a clearly identifiable song of theirs. It felt more free-form. It was entertaining and good, but it did seem a bit different than most shows. And then my concert companion noticed something else going on onstage: it appeared that the drummer had broken a drum head. Now I don’t think most rock bands expect for a drum head to break in the middle of a show. But REO had a back-up plan, much like we should have an estate plan - - for the "just in case" happening.
As the band members toward the front of the stage kept playing, the drummer kept drumming. A stagehand positioned himself behind the drummer, reaching up under the drummer’s right arm. The stagehand removed the broken drum head and replaced it, again, all while the drummer kept drumming on the rest of his drum kit. My companion and I then realized not only did the drum have to be replaced mid-concert, but that drum clearly then also had to be re-miked. And the sound had to be tested. And all of this took place while the band played live on stage. The show not only went on, but it never stopped.
Some might say that sure, this was easy for REO Speedwagon to pull off because they are professional musicians. But one might also say they are professional musicians who are still playing concerts after over forty years because they understand the importance of having a team and having a plan. For REO, when the drum head broke, they did not have to stop and ask what to do. They had a plan in place. More importantly, they had a person who was designated to handle the issue and who knew what to do. They had planned for the possibility.
A good estate plan also plans for possibilities. None of us really expect to lose capacity; we certainly don’t want to. But just like a drum head breaking mid performance, incapacity can happen to any of us. We plan for that by putting in place the ancillary portions of our estate plan to identify who will make medical and financial decisions. And we plan for that by discussing in advance, with those persons, what’s important to us. Just like REO Speedwagon, we designate who will handle the unexpected, and we make sure they know what to do.
Neither me nor my concert companion had ever seen this happen before during a live performance. But obviously, it does happen. The key, though, is how the band responded: everyone was prepared for this unlikely occurrence. And they were so prepared, that most people did not even notice the switch.
My passion in estate planning is for families to find their peace of mind for them and their loved ones. When I work with clients, I tell them that much of what we do is for the “just in case” scenario. So after we put a solid, personalized plan in place, you go on about your life - - taking your place on your life’s stage. And if that proverbial drum head breaks, it’s okay. The band can keep on playing and the plan will be in place to help your designated agents handle things. We’ll have you covered - - - just in case.
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