Contingency Planning

Every January, I travel from the moderate climate of the Monterey Peninsula to the frozen lakes of Minnesota to participate in one of the largest pond hockey tournaments in the country.  While most “snowbirds” are escaping the winter, I’m gleefully jumping into it.

As a hockey fan growing up on the Monterey Peninsula, it is a very special treat to experience the sport “as nature intended.”  The tournament is held on a large lake where over 2,000 like-minded participants make the annual pilgrimage for a long weekend of fun and enthusiasm in the cold. It’s one of the most epic experiences of the year and something we look forward to as soon as the previous year’s tournament is over and we’re heading home.

When I anticipate an experience like the pond hockey tournament, I often worry about whether something will go wrong.  What if I get sick or injured and that causes me to miss the five days I look forward to the whole year?  I always make sure to get my flu shot well in advance and I take extra precaution in the weeks leading up to the annual event.

There is one aspect that is not under anybody’s control: the weather.  It is crucial that we thread that needle between unbearable below-zero temperatures and an unseasonable warm spell that melts the ice.  In the past years, I had always been lucky.  This year, however, is a different story.  With less than a month until the tournament, the organizers made the decision to postpone the tournament by a few weeks due to the fact that the lake has not fully frozen over yet. 

Our team already made travel, lodging, and vacation-time arrangements and we could not adjust to the new schedule.  At the same time, there is no guarantee that the lake will be frozen by the rescheduled dates.  We were collectively bummed out that we won’t get to experience the joy of the Land of 10,000 Frozen Hockey Ponds for at least another year.  However, everybody took it in stride.  We understand that nobody has any control over the weather and we need to make the best of it. 

I compared this disappointing experience to a star player being injured and out for a season.  While it is a heart-break to miss an entire year, once the player is back on the team the next season, the missed games will seem like a blip on the screen.  With any luck, in January of 2017 we will be back on the frozen Minnesota pond, trying to prevent hypothermia from setting in, and happily playing the sport that we love so much in an environment that Californians don’t often have the opportunity to enjoy.

As I discussed with my teammates, this is the way it goes sometimes.  Life is messy and it does not always go according to plan.  We all understand this and, after taking some time to process the change, we were prepared to move forward with amended plans.

Having a back-up plan is critical.  When it comes to estate planning, we often only think about scenarios on the surface, never fully contemplating what we would like to happen if the ideas that we have in our minds cannot work out due to an unforeseen change of circumstances.  A comprehensive plan should anticipate reasonably foreseeable contingencies with alternate plans ready to be triggered should the need arise.  In establishing a new estate plan or reviewing an existing plan, take the time to consider a “Plan B” and a “Plan C” in addition to your “Plan A.”  Sometimes the backup plans end up being critical and more valuable than the original plan.

KRASA LAW, Inc. is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, California and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205831-920-0205.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only.  Reading this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  Before acting on any of the information presented in this article, you should consult a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community.