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Estate Planning for Vacationers

Summer break has finally arrived!  The sun is warm, and the kids are out of school.  It’s time to go on vacation (or so says my family!). 

Many of us will head out of town this summer to take a much needed respite from work and life’s normal activities.  Before leaving town, you should consider whether your estate planning affairs are in order.  This includes not only having a current Will or Trust in place (you know, just in case the bungee jumping adventure doesn’t go as planned!), but also includes the following less obvious concerns:

  1. Advance Health Care Directives (such as a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will Declaration) – Do you have these directives?  If not, now is the time.  If you already have them in place, be sure to take a copy with you in case you need it while away from home.
  2. Health Care Delegation – Are you the primary health care decision-maker for loved ones, such as minor children who are staying at grandma’s house while you vacation (thank goodness for grandparents!)?  Are you the primary health care decision-maker for your elderly parents?  If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you should consider temporarily delegating (giving) this authority to someone else in case a medical decision needs to be made in your absence. 
  3. Power of Attorney – Is there unfinished business left to do at home, such as paying bills, or selling some property?  If so, you may need to give someone legal authority to take care of those matters while you are enjoying your vacation.
  4. Business Owners – Is there someone in the office who has authority to sign checks, file tax forms, and deal with important time-sensitive matters?  If not, you should take steps before you leave to make sure your business continues without interruption while you are away from the office.

Take some time before leaving on vacation to make sure your estate planning affairs are in order.  Your vacation will be much more enjoyable if you take steps to ensure that these and other important matters are taken care of before leaving town.  Bon voyage!