Planning your summer vacation (or any vacation!) is a stressful task. You have to coordinate across various times and places, and usually, you also have to work with companies that may or may not be helpful (hello, every airline ever). All of this is can be a headache, but what about the anxieties that have more long-term consequences? Travelling can bring up serious questions that we generally try to avoid. Below are some questions often asked when considering flights and travel, and how Estate Planning can ease your worries.
Who will take care of my kids if something happens to me?
Solution: Last Will and Testament
The only way to name a guardian for minor children in the state of Arizona is a Last Will and Testament. Although it is unlikely that both of the children’s parents will become unable to care for them before they turn 18, if it happens, it is of utmost importance to be prepared. You can find information on how to choose a guardian here.
Without a will, a judge decides who will raise your children. Anyone can ask to be considered, and the judge (someone with no relationship with the parents or the children) will decide who the best candidate is. This can lead to family disputes and children in less than ideal situations.
Who will take care of my business/affairs if something happens to me?
Solution: Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which you legally give someone else the authority to act on your behalf if something happens to you. This is a huge deal– it allows them to do everything you would do if you were able. This includes banking, signing and creating contracts, buying and selling property, opening mail, and more. You can find a comprehensive list of powers granted in a Durable Power of Attorney here.
Because this is such an important job, it’s important that you completely trust the person you assign, and that you ensure your Durable Power of Attorney is updated regularly. To learn more, contact us or read Durable Power of Attorney FAQ.
Who will take care of my pets if something happens to me?
Solution: Pet Trusts!
Who doesn’t worry about their pets when they leave for vacation? Well, worry no more. A Pet Trust is the best way to ensure that your pets will be cared for in the way you want. With a pet trust, the funds are available to your trustee immediately, so they can take good care of your pets without delay. Additionally, the money left in a pet trust can only be used to care for the pet. This ensures that the money you put aside for your pet is used appropriately.
Who will make decisions about my health if I can’t?
Solution: Health Care Directives
A Health Care Directive dictates who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. This is extremely important if you become ill or incapacitated. A Health Care Directive also allows your medical information to be released to the person you appoint. Because of HIPPA laws, your medical information is private unless you legally release it (which is hard to do if you’re incapacitated). Having a Health Care Directive makes sure that your healthcare decisions and information are in the right hands. Without a Health Care Directive, your health is out of your hands. To learn more about the heartbreaking consequences of not being prepared, read Terri’s story.
As Terri’s story shows, there is little we can do to defend against the inevitable. The best we can do is be prepared so that those we love are cared for in the best possible way. Without Estate Planning, this is not possible. We all have anxieties about traveling, and many of them center around our health and well-being. These, and other, estate planning documents can provide peace of mind that you can’t find elsewhere. You can learn more about estate planning here.