Vacationers have so many things to do before they leave home. Between reservations, packing, and asking someone to pick up your mail, it may be hard to get it all done. There’s another matter that should be added to your to-do list, however. It’s not an obvious thing, but it is important. Estate plans – are yours ready to go?
Unless you signed them very recently, this is a great time to look over your estate planning documents. It may be time to make some changes. Have you experienced any major life events since the last update? Anyone married, divorced, born, or passed away?
Do you need to change your durable power of attorney or healthcare proxy? Maybe the person you named as agent no longer wants to serve or you have decided to go with another person.
These are all things to take care of now. Taking time to do this before you travel could save your family trouble in the future.
If anything should happen to you while you are traveling, would your family or personal representatives know where to find your digital assets? Remember, digital assets include financial accounts, email accounts, social media, and so on.
For now, just put together a list of accounts with login information. Then, leave the list in a very safe place with the rest of your estate planning documents. If your family is placed in the unfortunate position of having to find your digital assets, their job will be much easier.
In addition to your actual estate planning documents, it’s extremely important to name beneficiary designations on accounts such as IRAs, life insurance policies, and annuities. By doing so, your money will go where you want it to go, quickly and efficiently.
Just making the designations is not enough, though. They should align with your estate plans. Otherwise, you could unintentionally give very unequal amounts to family members.
When families are faced with out-of-date, missing or never-written estate plans, it just adds to their stress. You can help by tying up loose ends before you leave.