By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks

It’s that time of year again. Vacation and adventure time! To truly be ready for that trip, you might want to update or establish an estate plan before you hit the road. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Review and update your existing estate plan. A “set it and forget it” estate plan is not a great idea. We need to review and update the plan as our families evolve and circumstances change. You may need to update who would be in charge of your estate or change how your beneficiaries receive their inheritance.

2. Get a will, trust, and powers of attorney in place if you don’t have them. Clients regularly tell me what peace of mind they have since completing their plan. Don’t turn to your spouse on the plane and say, “We really should have done our wills.” Let your upcoming vacation serve as the impetus to put a plan in place!

3. Review titles and beneficiary designations. If you have a revocable living trust and have not changed titles to property and accounts to place them in the name of the trust, now is the time to do so. If you don’t, your family will have to file a probate court proceeding. Also, this is a good time to check beneficiary designations on your insurance and retirement plans to be sure you’ve named the right people. Once you’ve done so, you will know your estate plan will work as you intended.

4. Secure or review healthcare documents. Everyone over the age of 18 needs certain documents (including your children who have just become adults). They are: 1) General Durable Power of Attorney, which permits someone to be your agent to handle finances and legal matters if you cannot; 2) Power of Attorney for Health Care, which gives another person legal authority to make health care decisions (including life and death decisions) for you if you are unable to make them for yourself; 3) HIPPA Authorizations, which give written consent for doctors to discuss your medical situation with others, including family members; and 4) Advanced Directive or Living Will to let your loved ones know what you want (and don’t want) at the end of life.

5. Organize your accounts and documents. Make sure that if something happens, your documents can be easily found, and your trustee or executor can locate the assets in your estate and can access what they need to administer your estate.

Last, but not least: Have a great time! You are likely going to come back safe and sound, but you’ll have great peace of mind knowing that everything’s in place in case something unexpected happens. I’m always happy to help clients put their estate plan in place before a trip. You can book our no-charge initial consultation by calling the office at 603-375-6752.