One thing many people do as the end of the year approaches is plan their vacations for the coming year. Sometimes these vacations will take place in exotic locations in the far reaches of the globe. One thing you may not have considered during all the preparation and excitement of your trip is taking time to review some very important documents.
Reviewing your estate planning documents before a vacation is one of those things you feel you can put off, but if something happens, you will be angry at yourself for not doing. After all, estate planning is taking care of your family, so here are a few of the items you should review and have completed prior to taking off.
Care plan for minor children
Even if the children are joining you on the vacation, something may happen to you and your spouse but not to them. In this case, do you have a trusted guardian in place for when they get back home? If you have more than one child, you can even list separate guardians for each child.
Living will and medical power of attorney
Vacations are places with unfamiliar roads, food and people. A lot of things can go wrong. Therefore, reviewing estate planning prior to a vacation is crucial. Creating a living will that provides an advanced directive for medical care when you are unable will be very important. The information you can provide should include whether you want to stay on life support if your injuries are severe or what type of treatment you want to have. Having these decisions already made can be a great relief to your family who may not want to guess your intentions.
A medical durable power of attorney is another document you may want to set-up if you have not already done so. This will allow you to appoint someone you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated in some way.
Planning for your assets
If you have a will or a trust, prior to a vacation is a good time to review what will happen to your assets once you are gone. Maybe the vacation you are planning is part of a destination wedding for a child, this means that as soon as this time next year there could be a grandchild added to the family. Besides who is in line to receive your assets, updating your beneficiaries due to death, divorces or a change of mind on your part can also be done.
Vacations are for fun and relaxation, so planning for the worst outcomes may not be ideal. However, a lot of things can go wrong while traveling, especially if you are far from home or out of the country. Many people find that a lot of the excitement of going on a vacation is the planning. You can think of reviewing your estate plan as just another item on your vacation to-do list to check off.