Are You Ready for Summer Travel? The Estate Planning Checklist You Need Before You Travel

Travel estate planning should include steps to take if a deadly or critical injury occurs while traveling away from your Stuart, FL home.

Your Vacation and Your Travel Estate Plan. It’s hard to believe, but they go together.

While estate planning provides direction for the most important people in your life as you age, vacation travel is accompanied with an  increased risk of a life-changing and possibly deadly experience.  A “vacation subsection” of your estate plan or separate “travel estate planning” should address that exposure.

While on an innocuous trip to Southwestern USA, higher altitudes than the Florida flatlands brought on a bout of congestive heart failure that resulted in a 150-mile emergency flight to a hospital capable of addressing this life-threatening experience.  The wife was left behind to pack up belongings and find her way to a hospital across wilderness that was new to her while he laid in the cardiac care center surrounded by strange people who poked and prodded him.  Not knowing whether he would escape this turn of events alive, he never felt so alone and helpless.  While he did survive and is living a productive, healthy life, incidents of this magnitude are too common.

Will you stay local? Travel to another state or out of the country? Whether you have minor children who need their days planned with adventures or you are in need of a much-deserved break from work, getting out there can provide a needed respite from your daily routine. As you start to plan your travel, there is much to consider.  Have you added your estate planning to this list? While it may not have crossed your mind initially, it should be on your action list as you prepare. Let us share the estate planning checklist to complete before your adventure begins. With our guidance you will be able to travel with peace of mind.

  1. Get your mail picked up. It may surprise you to learn your neighbors and friends do not have the legal authority to pick up your mail while you are on your summer vacation. Yet, this is something that most of us want taken care of if we are gone for extended periods of time. Your agent, under your durable power of attorney, would have the authority to get your mail if you were out of town.
  2. Confirm access to all financial resources. What if you need money while you are on vacation? Or you need to make bank transfers? Or you need to act on a business transaction or sell a piece of property? While you may not anticipate needing to do this while you are on your summer vacation, something could come up. The agent, again under your durable power of attorney, can be given the legal authority to handle these transactions on your behalf, and even work with your experienced estate planning attorney to make sure it is handled correctly.
  3. Make health care decisions. If you were injured, unconscious, or seriously harmed to the point where you cannot make your own healthcare decisions, who should? Through your healthcare planning in your advanced directives, you can identify not only a primary person to act in your place, but alternative choices in the event they are unable to act as well.
  4. Arrange care for kids, and pets. You need to decide who will have the legal authority to care for your kids and your pets while you are on vacation. If they are not traveling with you, you need to make this important decision sooner rather than later. Further, you will need to decide if this is temporary care or if this person could be a legal custodian should something serious happen to you.
  5. Establish your second in command. In a crisis, identifying who is the second in command for your lifetime decisions, such as healthcare and financial, and at the time of your passing, is critical. When you work with your experienced estate planning attorney, he can make sure that your intentions are clear and known, as well as create the estate plan that will give the authority to the person of your choosing.
  6. Speak with travel insurance companies. Today, most vacation travel can be covered by travel insurance. Similar to much of what we have discussed so far, the travel insurance company is not going to speak with someone who does not have legal authority to act on your behalf. Your advanced directives will be a significant help should your travel insurance policy need to be activated by someone other than yourself.
  7. Know what to do in an emergency. Just as if you were at home, if something serious happens to you, your estate plan will hold all the details of what to do. With the guidance of your experienced estate planning attorney, your agent and your personal representative can work with your attorney to ensure your goals for your person and your legacy are met.

As a final point, be sure to ask your experienced estate planning attorney what estate planning documents to bring with you when you travel for vacation or otherwise.

We know this blog may raise more questions than answers. Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.