Should I Update My Estate Plan Before Traveling?

travel person rolling suitcase

Whether planning to travel for a quick weekend getaway or a big trip out of the country, it’s always a good idea to manage risk by revisiting your estate plan to ensure it reflects your current circumstances. Unfortunately, we can’t predict the future. However, we can take the necessary precautions to ensure our family members and loved ones aren’t left scrambling should something happen to you while you’re away. Before you head out of town, it’s in your best interest to contact an adept Montgomery County Estate Planning Attorney who can help you update your wishes and protect your hard-earned assets. 

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Place Before I Travel?

If you plan on traveling, you should ensure you have a Last Will and Testament in place. It can be unpleasant to think about the worst-case scenario on your trip. Still, it will be even more distressing for your grieving family to navigate the complex probate process if you die without dictating your final wishes. It’s important to leave behind instructions for how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. This will help minimize conflict between family members and ensure your final wishes are honored.

If you have minor children, it’s essential to appoint a legal guardian for your children should something happen to you. If you fail to appoint a guardian, the court will be left to decide who will care for your children, which may not align with your wishes. In addition, if you have a living trust, you should review your beneficiary destination. If a beneficiary has died, there’s a divorce, or there is the birth of a child, you should make necessary updates.

Should I Appoint a Healthcare Proxy?

Furthermore, appointing a durable power of attorney and establishing an advance health care directive is crucial. A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate someone to handle your financial affairs if you can no longer make those decisions yourself. After you’ve appointed a durable power of attorney, you should appoint a healthcare proxy.

While traveling, if you’re in an accident or suffer an injury that leaves you incapacitated, the individual you’ve appointed as your health care power of attorney will be granted the authority to make medical decisions if you can no longer do so yourself. Appointing a healthcare proxy is imperative to ensure your end-of-life wishes are enforced.

If you’ve recently made travel plans, don’t leave without ensuring your estate plan reflects your current circumstances. At JD Katz, you can rest assured that our legal team will help you achieve your estate planning objectives.