Summer continues to be high travel season for vacations, and vacationers have so many things to do before they leave home. Between reservations, packing, and asking someone to pick up your mail, it may be hard to get it all done. There’s another matter that should be added to your to-do list, however. It’s not an obvious thing, but it is important. Estate plans – are yours ready to go?
BEFORE YOU GO, REVIEW AND UPDATE ESTATE PLAN DOCUMENTS
Traveling carries with it the risks of illness, injury, and other unexpected conditions. Before heading out of town, you should review your estate plans to make sure you have properly planned for these risks. Wills and revocable trusts should be reviewed and updated so that proper fiduciaries are appointed, and distribution plans reflect current wishes. Travelers should also consider who they have named under their durable powers of attorney and health care directives. Depending on the trip, it might make sense to name a different (or alternate) person to serve under these documents. If traveling without minor children (or if minor children are traveling alone), parents should ensure that non-parent caretakers are properly authorized to consent to medical treatment on behalf of the children. These are all things to take care of now. Taking time to do this before you travel could save your family trouble in the future.
PREPARE YOUR DIGITAL ASSETS INVENTORY
If anything should happen to you while you are traveling, would your family or personal representatives know where to find your digital assets? Remember, digital assets include financial accounts, email accounts, social media, and so on. For now, just put together a list of accounts with login information. Then, leave the list in a very safe place with the rest of your estate planning documents. If your family is placed in the unfortunate position of having to find your digital assets, this will make their job easier.
REVIEW BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS
In addition to your actual estate planning documents, it’s extremely important to name beneficiary designations on accounts such as IRAs, life insurance policies, and annuities. By doing so, your money will go where you want it to go, quickly and efficiently. Just making the designations is not enough, though. They should align with your estate plans. Otherwise, you could unintentionally give very unequal amounts to family members.
HAVING YOUR ESTATE PLAN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PACKING YOUR SUITCASE
When families are faced with out-of-date, missing or never-written estate plans, it just adds to their stress. You can help by tying up loose ends before you leave. Contact Scarola Law today to review and/or prepare your estate plan before heading out of town.