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Tomorrow is Never Guaranteed: the Tragic Helicopter Crash that Took the Lives of Kobe Bryant and Eight Others is a Wake-up Call for Many

By: Laurie A. McCarthy, Esquire

The sudden and tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 has shocked and saddened many people across the world. Kobe was one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, winning five championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and two Olympic gold medals. Off the court, Kobe was a husband, a father to four daughters, an author, an Oscar winner, and an inspiration to many young players for his winning attitude labeled, “Mamba Mentality.”

The images of Kobe and his now-deceased 13-year-old daughter Gianna are absolutely heart-wrenching. Thinking of the small children who lost their mother and the other children who lost both of their parents in this tragic helicopter crash is distressing. Over the past week, as more information has been released about the nine victims of this tragedy, it seems to have many people thinking – what if this happened to me? Maybe not a helicopter crash, but maybe a car crash while taking a child to a basketball game. What if my spouse and I were both killed in that crash together? Do we have a plan in place? Will our surviving children be taken care of the way we would want? Have we left enough direction? Will they have enough money?

No one wants to contemplate their own mortality; most people would rather live their lives ignoring the inevitable. So, while estate planning should be a priority for everyone over 18 years of age regardless of your familial, marital, or financial situation, it often takes a tragedy for people to stop and think about getting their affairs in order. 

The most common estate planning documents include the following:

  • Will – A will not only distributes your property after death, but it also appoints the person to handle your estate on your behalf, and can also be used to designate a guardian for your minor children. Without a will, state law will control who is entitled to inherit your estate, and care for your minor children.
  • Trust – A trust is an estate planning tool whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. A trust allows a person to transfer property to a trustee. The trustee holds that property for the trust’s beneficiaries.   This can be useful for estate and tax planning purposes under the right circumstances.
  • Power Of Attorney – A power of attorney is quite helpful to assist with financial matters or medical issues, as it gives someone the authority to act for another person in specified legal and financial matters.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney – The Health Care Power of Attorney, under which you name an individual, known as your agent, to make all health care decisions on your behalf, when you cannot do so for yourself.
  • Living Will – A living will, known as an advance health care declaration, instructs health care providers as to your choices regarding your medical care if you are unable to communicate, and are in a state of permanent unconsciousness, or are close to death. It also allows you to decide now whether to be removed from life support, rather than leaving that decision to grieving family members.
  • Guardianship – We can also help you determine when and if a guardian of minor children or disabled adults may be appropriate and necessary, and we can prepare all the documents to establish and identify the terms of the guardianship.

A clear and effective estate plan will make sure that your wishes are followed after your death, that your family is spared unnecessary expense and delay, and that someone you trust will be in charge if you ever become unable to manage things on your own.  People with up-to-date estate plans can have peace of mind, when tragedy strikes, knowing that regardless of what tomorrow brings, their families will be taken care of and their wishes followed in regard to not only their estate but also their own healthcare.

If you have any questions about your estate plan or are interested in learning more about how the Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP can help you implement a clear and effective estate plan, please give us a call to set up a private consultation. 

The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP is a full-service law firm in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We strive to help people, businesses and institutions throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania solve legal problems – and even prevent legal problems before they occur.  To learn more about the full range of our specific practice areas, please visit or contact Laurie A. McCarthy, Esquire at 610-565-5700 or at [email protected]

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The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP, is located in Media, PA and serves clients in and around Media, Glen Riddle Lima, Brookhaven, Wallingford, Newtown Square, Lenni, Springfield, Swarthmore, Chester, Aston, Bryn Mawr, Morton, Woodlyn, Broomall, Gradyville, Folsom, Chester Heights, Crum Lynne, Glen Mills, Marcus Hook, Ridley Park, Drexel Hill, Marple, Bethel, Garnet Valley, Chadds Ford Concord, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County.

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