This will not be one of those thrilling posts from a fashion magazine about the latest resort wear to bring on a trip. Nor will it be like the articles I read on the 10 things to pack for a successful triathlon. No, this is just your standard (but important) estate planning check list.
It’s not that you are more likely to get hurt or have an emergency while you are away from home, but vacations and trips are often what cause people to think about their plans and the future. So, it is with that in mind that I give you this handy list of things to check before you leave:
- If you don’t have any legal documents in place and are leaving soon, or want to spend all your money on umbrella drinks instead of a lawyer, at least sign a health care proxy before you leave. These are free from your doctor’s office or most hospital websites. This will allow someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable.
- If you do have the documents in place, just take a glance at them and make sure the people you’ve named to help you in a crisis are still the same, and that their situation hasn’t changed drastically such that they may be unable to help you. You might even want to send them an email letting them know you are traveling, reminding them they are named as your agent in the event of emergencies and letting them know where they will find your important papers if they have to help you.
- If you do want changes made to the documents, call your lawyer as soon as you can. If there are just minor changes they should be able to help you with those with fairly short notice. More extensive changes might need to wait until you get back.
- If you have minor children, you’ll want to make sure you have guardianship nominations in place (in case something happens to you on the trip, regardless of whether you are traveling with or without them.) You’ll also want to check and make sure that the people you’ve named to handle any money that will be inherited by minor children are still able and willing to serve. If you are traveling without your children, make sure you have emergency guardianship proxies in place and that the caregiver has a copy of them.
It’s always best to do these things in advance, so you can think through your choices and decisions. But there are definitely interim plans you can put into place to help you rest easier on vacation. Just be sure to follow through with the long term plan when you return!