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Rob Ford's Sudden Illness Should Remind Us to Plan for the Worst

09/14/2014 09:49 EDT | Updated 11/14/2014 05:59 EST
Chris So via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 5: Rob Ford makes a point as John Tory looks on at the mayoral debate at the Royal Canadian Legion in Etobicoke. (Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Toronto political scene was turned on its head on Friday when Rob Ford withdrew from the mayoral race and his brother Doug Ford stepped in.

Everywhere you turned there was something on the television or the radio about the switch with speculation running rampant as to the severity of Rob's medical condition. Many Torontonians expressed their support for Rob and his family as they face the doctor's diagnosis of his condition. The front runner in the race, John Tory, says his strategy will not change now that Doug is in the race and Olivia Chow reserved comments to give the family some room.

I along with countless others watched Doug give his statement with his family surrounding him and it was very obvious that they all have been rocked by the events of the past week. Rob has indicated that he is in for the fight of his life and must concentrate on his health. He is certainly not the first person to have health issues but is it amazing how far the tentacles have reached with this particular case and we will have to wait to see the ramifications of it all.

What I find interesting is how one man's medical issues have managed to change the course of the career paths of three different individuals. Doug is now running for Mayor, Rob is running for his old council seat in Ward 2 which many seem to think he could win from his hospital bed, while Rob and Doug's nephew Michael is running for school trustee. The fallout from all of this is yet to be seen but there is a hidden picture which bears discussion -- the age old myth: "it might happen to you but it won't happen to me!"

This is just one more event this year that has thrust the subject of one's health into the public eye and raised the awareness of how important it is to have courageous conversations before something happens and not after. With that being said, have you had the courageous conversations regarding some of the following important issues?

• Power of attorney for medical/financial issues

• Up to date will in place with an appointed executor

• Current beneficiary designations

• Critical illness insurance

• Disability insurance

• Life insurance

• Business succession plan in place

• Last wishes/arrangements

• Documentation/important papers in order and location shared with executor or loved ones

• Legal guardians appointed for under age children

These are not subjects that are commonly discussed with family and friends over dinner or drinks so if you have not had them yet, set aside a time to have this discussion when everyone is calm and can think rationally. When an illness strikes or a death occurs it is too late to take care of all of this. You will be doing yourself and your loved ones a huge favour by having this courageous conversation today.