Traveling? The Eight Estate Planning Must-Dos before Departure
In 2014, the World Health Organization revealed that globally, there were 1.24 million road deaths, 1,320 deaths from airplane crashes, 78 deaths from train crashes, and over 4,000 deaths from motorcycle accidents. Statistically, though, motorcycle travel is the most dangerous, while train and air travel are safer.
In addition to the risks while in transit, there are also risks while in a temporary location. Most adults who travel are aware of this, which is why there are thousands of products that help enhance security, from locks to apps.
Another layer to add to your security and protection while traveling is estate planning. Estate planning is important because it takes care of emergency situations and helps ensure that your wishes are observed financially, medically, or otherwise.
Here are eight must-do estate planning tips before traveling:
1. Work on your estate planning and come up with a realistic document.
List all of your assets on one side of a sheet of paper, followed by instructions that should be followed in the event of a medical emergency or death. Then, bring these lists to an estate planning lawyer who can help you create your legal document.
2. If you have an estate plan already, review it and update it.
Consider changes if you have had any major milestone in your life since the last time the document was reviewed, such as divorce, remarriage, births, deaths, new tax laws, new adult children, and additional assets. Any changes you want to make must be done with the help of an estate planning lawyer to ensure they are legal and binding.
3. Check and review property titles, titles, and beneficiaries.
Go over all your documents, including your living will, and check the details. Make sure they are updated and correct (including proofreading). It is important to make sure the document cannot be challenged on minor issues, let alone far more serious problems.
4. Update data on minor children and dependents.
The birth of a new child may have occurred since the last time the estate plan was done, or you may now have an elderly relative in your care. Assuring that they will be properly cared for in case of an accident or unexpected event will provide a comfort, both for you and others concerned. You should name a guardian for the dependent(s), and instructions on special care for those who need it.
5. Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney.
This is important because it assigns to another individual the legal right to make decisions in case you are unable to do so, especially for health care. This person must be over 18, completely trustworthy, and responsible. The power of attorney should also extend to HIPPA authorization, which is a written consent from you for your family members to be involved in any medical decisions in case of an accident.
6. Organize all documents.
It is not enough to know where all your documents and passwords are. You have to have an accurate record of what has been done and when, as well as where it is located. This will minimize headaches for those who need to find the information in emergency situations. It is also important to have hard copies, duly notarized, rather than just soft copies in your computer.
7. Go over your insurance policies.
Check your insurance policies and make sure they are accurate and realistic in case they are needed by your family in an emergency. You might want to upgrade the policy, especially if you have dependents, elderly, or those in need of long-term care who are relying on you to help them financially.
8. Finally, talk to your family.
This isn’t a permanent goodbye speech but rather a sincere and straightforward discussion with the adult members of your immediate family about emergencies and the like. Let them know that you have made preparations “just in case” and that you have provided for them properly. Make clear your plans so there are no misunderstandings later on, such as who is in charge and will handle an emergency.
The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.
Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.