Vacations are a time to relax, unwind, and create beautiful memories with your loved ones. But before you set off on your adventure, it's essential to ensure that your legal affairs are in order so you can fully relax during your travels.
Can’t imagine doing one more thing before you take some much-needed time away?
Don’t worry! As your Personal Family Lawyer®, I'm here to guide you through these important tasks, so you can enjoy your vacation worry-free. Plus, these steps only take a little time to complete and can provide you with peace of mind knowing that you have made proper arrangements if the unexpected happens to you or your family while you’re away.
Let’s dive in! (No pool puns intended!)
1. Create Powers of Attorney
Whether you’re traveling overseas or just a few hours away, it's crucial to have Powers of Attorney in place for both health care and financial matters before you leave.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney designates someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated during your vacation. While no one plans to become incapacitated, a slip on the diving board, an injury while boating, or a parasite caught from local cuisine (eek!) can happen.
Similarly, a Financial Power of Attorney empowers a trusted individual to manage your financial affairs for you. With a Financial Power of Attorney, you can give someone the authority to manage your investments or pay your bills away while you’re gone, or just have it as a safety net in case you become incapacitated or can’t be reached while traveling.
By having these documents prepared ahead of time, you can ensure that no matter what hiccups you run into on your travels, your wishes for your health will be respected and your financial affairs will be handled according to your instructions, even when you're away.
2. Nominate Permanent Legal Guardians for Your Kids
As a parent, naming a Permanent Guardian for your children is one of the most important decisions you can make. While it's a difficult topic to consider, designating a Permanent Legal Guardian ensures that your children will be cared for by someone you trust if the unexpected happens while you're on vacation.
It’s a good idea to take a little time to choose someone who shares your values, loves your children, and is willing to take on the responsibility of raising them. However, anyone you trust to raise your kids is a better choice than leaving the decision up to a judge who doesn’t know you or your family.
By documenting your chosen Guardian, you make sure your children will be cared for by someone who loves them and knows them if the unthinkable happens to you, and you can always update your choice at any time in the future as your children and their relationships change over time.
3. Designate Short-Term Guardians for Your Kids
In addition to naming a Permanent Guardian, it's equally crucial to designate Short-Term Legal Guardians for your children. Short-Term Guardians step in when the Permanent Guardian lives far away, or in case of a short-term, immediate emergency.
You can give multiple people the authority to be your child’s Short-Term Guardian, including relatives, neighbors, or nannies. When planning a vacation, it’s a good idea to name any adults who your child will be staying with while traveling with you or staying home.
For example, if your child is spending the week at their grandparents’ house, you should name their grandparents as Short-Term Guardians and give them medical Power of Attorney for your minor child. If your child is traveling with you, naming any adult travel companions as Short-Term Guardians and giving them medical Powers of Attorney is a wise choice in case a Guardian or Medical POA is needed for your child while on your trip.
Discuss this arrangement with the individuals you've chosen and make sure they’re aware of their roles and responsibilities. By establishing Short-Term Guardians and Medical POAs, you can ensure that your children are well-cared for in the event of an emergency.
4. Tell the People You Trust About Your Plans
Last but not least, make sure that the people you trust know about your travel plans and the preparations you’ve made, including where you’ll be staying and how to get in contact with you.
Let them know about any legal documents you've put in place, and how to access them if needed. Share this information with your chosen Guardians, family members, and close friends. By keeping everyone in the loop, you can ensure that your wishes are known and your loved ones can act swiftly and effectively in case of an emergency.
You should also provide your loved ones with my contact information in case they need copies of your Powers of Attorney or kid’s Guardianship documents or need them delivered digitally.
Estate Planning for the Life (And Vacation) You Deserve
As you pack your bags and prepare for your vacation, don't overlook the importance of handling your legal affairs. Taking the time to create Powers of Attorney, Permanent and Short-Term Legal Guardians for your children, and communicating your plans to trusted individuals can provide you with peace of mind and save your family incredible stress if there’s an emergency while you’re away.
To ensure that these documents are prepared correctly and in accordance with your state's laws, I encourage you to contact me, your Personal Family Lawyer®. I start by guiding all of my clients through a unique process I call the Life & Legacy Planning Session. During the Session, I get to know you and your family on a personal level and review exactly what you own and who you love to make sure everything and everyone is protected and cared for in the best way possible when you pass away or if you become incapacitated.
And if we find that things wouldn’t go the way you wanted if something happened to you, I can help you create a custom estate plan that leaves no rock unturned.
Don't let the joy of vacation be overshadowed by the “what if’s.” Contact me today for a free 60-minute call to learn more.
This article is a service of Sarah M. Ventris, a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Life & Legacy Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Life & Legacy Session.