Planning a Dream Vacation? Consult a lawyer!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” -Henry Miller
We all have our dream vacation – two weeks in Aruba, a brief foray in the Philippines, or maybe a saunter through the Swiss Alps. But when we start making these dreams into a reality, it’s necessary that we consider our financial and legal responsibilities before we leave on our getaway. Specifically, who will ensure timely payment of bills? What if you encounter a medical emergency? These questions will weigh heavy on your mind while planning your trip. A travel agent can promise excitement, but if you desire peace of mind, look to a lawyer.
If you’re planning a prolonged vacation, the attorneys at Sebelin & Sebelin, P.C. are here to help. Here are the essential legal documents for the traveler in all of us:
- Power of Attorney: The Power of Attorney is a document that allows an individual or individuals to act on another’s behalf. Essentially, this document will allow your appointed agent to make, financial, business, legal, and real estate decisions on your behalf. If you are traveling for a prolonged period of time, or your trip is extended due to unforeseen circumstances, your agent can ensure that all your obligations at home are taken care of. While it may be scary to trust another with your financial assets, you may limit your agent in both their scope of representation, as well as the time they can serve on your behalf. Furthermore, an agent is a fiduciary who must act in your best interests. Thus any wrong doing on your agent’s part will be met with both civil and criminal action.
- Health Care Directive / Living Will: Obviously accidents can happen on a vacation, but if you become incapacitated who will make decisions on your life sustaining treatments? A Health Care Directive will allow you to outline treatment guidelines should you be seriously injured, in a permanent or temporary coma, or in a vegetative state. It will grant your agent the power to either follow your guidelines or make their own decisions based upon the circumstances.
- Last Will and Testament: If you’re planning to travel to a dangerous part of the world, are a about to be deployed by the military, or just planning for the worst, a Last Will and Testament will allow you to allocate your assets to beneficiaries in the event that you pass away. More importantly, if you are the parents of young children, a Will can also direct for their through guardianship and trust provisions.
- Updating Beneficiary Designations: Unfortunately, your Last Will and Testament can’t control for every eventuality. Some financial policies, like life insurance, have designated beneficiaries who are determined by documents you complete. Before your vacation, it may be necessary to examine your policies to ensure that the correct individuals are listed as beneficiaries of your accounts.
No matter where you go, having these three documents prepared will ensure that both your family and property are well cared for. If you’re traveling overseas, or simply need a estate plan, Call Sebelin & Sebelin P.C. today at 610-379-4499 to schedule a free consultation.