Such an event occurred on January 13, 2012. The Costa Concordia cruise ship veered off course and ran aground partially capsizing off the Tuscan coast. The accident forced the evacuation of the ship and some passengers and crew members died.
The loss of lives in that disaster is tragic and illustrates that life is often more uncertain and complex than we tend to realize. This accident also potentially impacted thousands of families with very serious legal and financial questions. Few of the passengers probably gave much thought to the possibility of never seeing their families again. Even fewer probably considered the ramifications of what could happen to their affairs if all of their immediate family members were vacationing with them and perished.
That failure is manifested in unintended outcomes for families, loved ones and estates. Without an estate plan, you cannot control what would otherwise be important personal decisions. Those decisions will be left to state regulations, laws, the cases interpreting them, and /or on occasion court intervention.
However, most estate plans are not cumbersome and allow for the orderly and proper management of your financial affairs and health care. Your estate plan should include decisions concerning who will manage your financial affairs if you become disabled and cannot do so or after you die in your estate or who will manage your health care and end of life decisions.