The following is an article from the May 2021 issue of "Get Your Ducks in a Row" Carolina Family Estate Planning's free newsletter. You can read the rest of the issue, as well as back issues of our newsletter online at www.carolinafep.com/library/newsletters/ or subscribe for free at www.carolinafep.com/newsletter.cfm
How did it get to be May already?! As the weather heats up and COVID-19 restrictions ease, you may find yourself getting ready to go on vacation. Before you head out, you should make sure you have your ducks in a row regarding your planning. Even if you did your planning recently, there are some steps you should take to make sure you’re prepared for a relaxing, enjoyable vacation.
First of all, I have to tell you: If you haven’t done your planning yet, or you haven’t updated your documents in a while, you should. At the very least, make sure your Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Release are up to date. These documents will ensure that if something happens and you’re disabled, the people you name will be able to take care of your health, financial, and legal matters.
If you are a parent with minor children, you need to designate guardians for your children. Your Will should specify who will take care of your children if you die. But what if the guardians you name need a couple of days to get to your children? The Children’s Safeguard Plans we design for families include designations for temporary guardians to serve while you’re on vacation, if you’re incapacitated, or while the permanent guardians you’ve named are located.
Once you’ve done your planning, you need to make sure the people you’ve named know where to find your documents. Your Power of Attorney agents, executor, and trustees should know the location of your original documents. If you have one of our “Big Green Binders” the Overview section has a place for you to write down where your originals are and who has copies. Whether or not you’re comfortable sharing the documents with people right now, you should fill out this sheet, make copies of it, and give copies of that sheet to your agents, so they know what to do if something happens to you.
While you’re making travel plans, it’s also a good time to let some friends and family members know where you’re going, how they can reach you in an emergency, and how you’re going to reach them if you need help. If you’re traveling overseas, see the State Department’s travel checklist. Do your research, take photocopies of your passport (and leave one with friends stateside), and take written contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate.
As usual, being prepared takes a little more effort upfront, but it makes things so much easier if there is an emergency. And knowing you’re prepared makes vacation all the more relaxing and fun. I hope you are set to enjoy a great summer, and if you are headed out of town, safe travels!
By the way, if you or someone you care about hasn’t done planning yet, give us a call!