Most people create a list of things they need to accomplish before leaving on a trip. Some of them are necessary to prepare for the trip, while others are just things that need to be accomplished. Taking care of estate planning tasks is a great thing to put on your to-do list because having your estate in order will give you peace of mind while you travel and make things easier for your family if you don’t return from your trip.
Make a Plan
If you don’t have a plan for your estate, now is an excellent time to make one. Use your trip as a deadline to motivate you to complete your estate plan. Make sure you give yourself enough time to actually complete the plan before you leave so that it’s done and you don’t have to worry about it while you’re traveling.
Update Your Estate Plan
If you already have an estate plan it is essential that you update it whenever there is a change such as a birth, marriage or death. Review your plan as soon as possible and allow time for changes to be finalized before you leave.
Review Your Beneficiary Designation
Designating your beneficiary is one of the most important estate planning decisions you make. Make sure any changes are made as soon as possible after a divorce or death so that your finances will be handled according to your wishes.
Name a Guardian for Your Children
Make sure you have named a guardian for any minor children you have. Talk to them before finalizing the paperwork to make sure they are willing and able to care for your children if something happens to you before they are adults. Take a few minutes to consider whether the person you have named is the right person before leaving on your trip.
Secure Incapacity Documents
Your estate plan should include documents that allow anyone you have designated to make decisions regarding your health care if you are unable to do so yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and HIPPA authorizations that allow your medical situation to be discussed with those you have chosen should be included.
Go Over Your Life Insurance Policies
Review your life insurance coverage to make sure it meets the needs of your family while you are preparing for your trip. The amount of coverage you need may have changed since you last reviewed the policy.
Organize Your Documents
Make a list of all your financial accounts and make sure that at least two people you love have copies of the list. This list should be updated just before you leave so that nothing is left off. You may need to provide account numbers and passwords so that your financial accounts are easily accessible if you don’t return from your trip.
Share Your Estate Plan with Family Members
You don’t have to show everyone your financial documents or give them your account passwords, but it’s important to let everyone know what your general plans are and why. Family members who understand your estate plan are less likely to challenge your wishes after you have passed on than those who had no idea what your plans were until you passed.
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Fred Guia is currently blogging for an estate lawyers nj company. He enjoys providing help and advice on different estate topics like wills, living trusts, and other related topics.