Estate planning is important! And it is even more important when traveling and/or vacationing enter the equation. Think about it – sometimes traveling involves an airplane, long drives, and/or excursions (like parasailing, scuba diving, or hiking) – and most of the time we have precious cargo with us like family members, close friends, or colleagues. What if something goes wrong?
This is sometimes painful to hear, especially for Type A’ers like myself, but it is impossible to control everything! We cannot control other travelers and their vehicles; we cannot control the sturdiness of the parasailing ropes; we cannot control the landing of the airplane...You get it – but the list could certainly go on! Should something go wrong, does your estate plan have your back?
Many years ago, I was with my family vacationing in Florida. Long story short, I was swimming with a friend and we both got caught by a rip current. My arms were flailing for what felt like an eternity, the waves kept crashing on my head leaving no time to catch a breath, and my body just could not fight the current anymore. I remember thinking to myself “this is it” and I gave up. The next thing I can remember is opening my eyes, laying on my back on the beach, and looking eye-to-eye with a complete stranger. That complete stranger saved my life.
The point to my story, of course, is that regardless of what goes wrong, are you prepared for the worst? From an estate planning perspective, ensure that you have taken the time to either do a plan (if you have not done one yet) or confirm that your existing plan is up-to-date with your wishes. So, if you are traveling or vacationing soon, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have someone appointed as a health-care decision-maker if you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself? Check your Appointment of Health Care Representative document. (Hint: Sometimes, “this” document is called a Health Care Power of Attorney, too.) Is this “who” you want in that capacity? Do you trust him/her to make health-care decisions for you?
- Do you have someone appointed as a financial/legal decision-maker if you are unable to make financial/legal decisions for yourself? Check your Power of Attorney and determine “when” the document comes into effect as well as what type of “powers” they would have. Again, is this “who” you want in that capacity? Do you trust him/her to be in charge of your financials? What about any legal decision that may arise?
- If a catastrophe happens and a death occurs, who do you want to be in charge at that point and who to get your stuff? Check your Last Will and Testament and/or Trust. Specifically, check the “Executor” and/or “Trustee” section as well as the “Beneficiary” section. Do these sections sound right – do they align with your wishes? What about beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement accounts, etc.? …Or jointly-owned assets? Are those up-to-date?
So, if you are planning a vacation or traveling soon, make sure you have taken the time to either complete a plan or confirm that your existing plan reflects your wishes appropriately. I promise you, you are certainly better safe than sorry. Let us know .... we can help! Just click here to book a FREE appointment!
All the best,
Jennifer L. Rozelle