Many of my clients contact me when they are planning trips. People are often reminded of their mortality when they consider flying in a plane or beginning a long road trip. They think about what estate planning they have done and the things left undone. What will happen if we don’t return due to an accident or illness?
These thoughts cause travelers to actually make a list of things that they need to accomplish before leaving. Sometimes the list gets taken care of and others are put off until another time.
Here are some thoughts about things that you need to do before your next trip, so you are able to travel with peace of mind.
Have all of your estate planning done in advance of any travel plans. The time is now to get your documents in order and make your decisions about your bequests. Don’t procrastinate any longer.
Now might be a good time to review your existing estate plan to make sure it still complies with your wishes. Things might have changed. There may have been divorces, births or remarriages that need to be addressed. Make sure these items are taken care of before your next trip.
If minor children are involved, make sure that the guardian you have named is willing and capable to serve if something happens to you. Also, this is the time to consider if you have made the best choice for a guardian. Perhaps it would be appropriate to name an alternate, in the event the other is unable or unwilling to serve as guardian.
Consider reviewing your life insurance. Make sure it will still cover your family’s needs and examine the needs of long-term care insurance.
It is also a good idea to have everything organized and easily found, in the event of a tragedy. Make sure your trustee or administrator is aware of where all of the important documents are in advance of some catastrophic event.
Finally, it would be an excellent time to advise your children about where you have banking and investment accounts. It might even be an opportunity to let them know what your assets are and what you have planned for them. It can also give you the time and opportunity to let them understand your values and the opportunities that your generosity provides for their families.