Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Even the most promising future can change drastically by a life-threatening event. A healthy individual may require around-the-clock care and supervision after an accident. Families may need to seek government benefits for long-term health and special needs to avoid financial depletion and personal exhaustion. Business succession and career planning for parents and children may take unexpected turns as families cope with illness and recovery.

The close-knit Thorne family awaited each Thanksgiving with great anticipation, and this year was especially elaborate for the parents and their three children. The extended family had many milestones to celebrate along with their grandparents, Aunt Pamela, and her family. Their oldest son Andrew, 22-years old, and daughter Michelle drove home from college on Wednesday, joined younger sister Isabella, and everyone pitched in for the Thanksgiving feast. It was nearly Grandpa Newton Thorne’s 75th birthday and the 50th wedding celebration of Newton and his wife, Barbara. Isabella was in her high school senior year. The Thorne parents, Philip and Janet, were about to be empty nesters. The family all felt especially warm and close and had a beautiful celebration with much to be thankful for.

The day after Thanksgiving was traditionally a big shopping event for Janet, Pamela, Michelle, and Isabella. They planned to leave early for the nearest mall. Andrew, an avid cyclist, cross-country athlete, and engineering student, had brought his bicycle with him. He had not had a chance to ride in the last couple of weeks and planned a 45-minute ride in the morning before the other family members awoke. He hoped to spend time later with his girlfriend Jill and her family. Andrew left a note by the kitchen telephone for his father, Phil, saying that he was out on his bicycle and would return in one hour. It was 6:30 a.m.

The phone rang around 7:30 AM. It was still a little dark outside, and everyone was slowly getting ready to start the day. Phil was still upstairs and answered. It was the Bloomfield Hills police. There was an accident. A bicyclist had collided with a deer on nearby Franklin Road at Maple Road and had been rushed to the Beaumont Royal Oak hospital. Philip froze momentarily and felt light-headed. He sat down, took a deep breath, and yelled for Janet and Isabella. They were all getting ready to leave for the mall. He tried to explain about the accident, but he could barely speak.