One of the saddest movies of all of time is “Make way for Tomorrow” a 1937 Paramount Production directed by the renowned Leo G. McCarey. The film is a neglected masterpiece, so by all means watch it. Just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby. Orson Welles is reported to have said that this film could make a stone cry. The film stars excellent character actors, Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell and Porter Hall. McCarey won an Oscar for best director that same year for his work on “The Awful Truth.” When he received his Academy Award, he said: “You gave it to me for the wrong picture.”
The plot centers on an elderly couple who is about to lose the family home to foreclosure, after the husband (and bread winner) falls ill. Hoping to work matters out, they procrastinate until the eve of the foreclosure sale, when they finally gather their five (5) adult children to tell them what has happened. None of the children want to step up to the plate to take care of their parents. As a “temporary” solution, one son takes his mother and one daughter in another city, takes the father, to live with them, until a “permanent” solution can be arranged. This is the first time husband and wife have been apart in fifty (50) years. How that plays out is the subject of the film (no spoiler alerts here!). The film remains relevant today because of McCarey’s timeless understanding of people and relationships.
The film’s insightful scenes makes us think about our relationships with our own parents or children. Several issues relating to estate planning appear. First, the parents obviously should have communicated their financial difficulties to the children earlier, so that there would have been more time to devise a workable plan. Having an open line of communication with your adult children is still critical today. Would your children take care of you in a crisis? If your children are like the children in the film, what can you do about it? Are you up to date and knowledgeable about the cost of assisted living facilities? Have you made financial arrangements, such as purchasing a long term care insurance or insuring that you have sufficient savings to keep some sort of roof over your head no matter what happens to you? These are just some of the estate planning issues that jumped out at me while watching this engrossing film.
If you wish to learn the “Truth About Estate Planning” please register for one of our upcoming free educational workshops. After watching this film, if you would like to have a discussion with the counseling-oriented estate planning attorneys at Cramer Law Center to address your family situation, please do not hesitate to contact us.