By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC
Many of us are finally getting an opportunity to travel again, and we are more than ready! However, are you truly ready for that trip? One item you may have forgotten is to check on whether your estate plan is in order before you hit the road. Here are some thoughts on preparing your estate plan before your trip.
• Get a Will, Trust and Power of Attorney in place. Have you ever gotten on a plane and thought, “I should have done my Will! What if something happens?” My clients feel great peace of mind after completing their plan. Your vacation can serve as the impetus to put a plan in place.
• Update your existing estate plan. A big mistake I see in estate planning is the “set it and forget it” syndrome. All of us need to update our estate plan from time to time because change is inevitable. Are your children older now? Are your listed trustees and executors still a good choice? Check your plan to assure that you and your loved ones will be protected.
• Name guardians for minor children. If you have minor children, it’s crucial to have documents appointing guardians, especially if you are traveling without them. Don’t leave this to chance, or worse, to the court to decide. Putting your choice in a legal document assures that the people you want to raise your children will do so if needed.
• Review your insurance. Check the amount of your life insurance coverage and see if it still meets your family’s needs. Consider getting long-term care insurance to help pay for the costs of long-term care (and preserve your assets for your family).
• 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. It’s also a good time to check beneficiary designations on your insurance and retirement plans.
• Organize your accounts and documents. Make sure that if something happens, your documents can be easily found. Then make a list of all your assets and where they can be found, including usernames and passwords. Print a hard copy in case your computer is stolen or crashes, put it in a safe, secure place and let someone you trust know where to find it. Be sure to include on your master list any passwords that might be needed to access your computer and files.
Last, but not least: have a great time! You are likely going to come back safe and sound, but there is great peace of mind when your plan is in place before you take a trip. To help plan, book your free consultation with me by calling the office at 602-375-6752. You can also visit libbybanks.com for more information.