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My wife and I went out for pierogi this past Saturday with another couple. We had a great time at Pokro and headed out. I was driving, and I turned onto westbound U.S. 30 to head home. We weren't on the road very long when my wife said "Chris, everyone is getting over." She was right; the cars ahead of us were hitting their brakes and rapidly moving to the right. I wasn't sure what was going on until the car immediately in front of me did the same thing, and I saw the headlights.

When I say headlights, I literally mean that there was car heading right for us. I'm not sure why, but there was a car heading eastbound in the westbound lane of the divided highway.

It took me a second or two to figure out what to do. During that time, my wife got a little excited and my buddy Tom, who is an airline pilot and is used to dealing with stressful and dangerous situations, yawned.

My first thought was, dang, this might not work out. My next thought was, maybe this isn't the best time to challenge this guy on who has the right of way. In any case, I decided to follow the cars ahead of me and moved over as far right as I could go. By the time I passed the car, the dude had pulled onto the shoulder and was making as non-descript of a U-turn as he possibly could.

Now I don't know if this guy was drunk, confused or just new to driving. I do think that he recognized that he had made a mistake when he saw all of the headlights heading toward him.

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What's my point, you ask? Well, my point is that this could have ended really badly. I drive an enormous SUV so chances were pretty good that if we had collided, I would have ended up on top. On the other hand, our kids could have lost both of their parents. The thing is, you never know. One moment I'm laughing with friends and the next, I'm wondering what they'll say about us on the news. You just never know.

Folks, it's the not knowing that makes having a plan in place so important. Although it's hard to get the kids off of their iPads and computers, I'm still pretty sure that they'd notice if we weren't around. It would be even worse if we left them with a mess to clean up. Having a plan in place will not make up for losing your parents, but it can make the loss a little less painful. Not a lot, but a little.

The truth is none of us know when we are going to check out. That's why we plan. If you wait until you hit the car head on, it's probably too late.

In addition to making it a little easier on your family, it will give you peace of mind in knowing that you've prepared for the unexpected, and you aren't going to leave a mess. To be honest, I always thought French fries would be the end of me, not some knucklehead driving the wrong way on U.S. 30, but I've planned for both.

Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at www.nwi.com. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Chrisyugolaw@gmail.com. Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.

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