It’s no surprise that Americans spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning their estate. After all, a vacation is a trip you want to go on, while the eternal “trip” is not.
However, wouldn’t you travel with more peace of mind if you knew you had taken the necessary steps to protect your family if something unthinkable should happen to you? That’s why you need to tackle these five important tasks before you go on that much-deserved summer vacation:
Guardians for minor children — if you have children under the age of 18, you must name a guardian or guardians to ensure that they will never be left in the hands of strangers or people you wouldn’t want raising them. You can name short-term guardians in case of emergency, and then plan for long-term guardianship. We recommend a full Kids Protection Plan® to ensure there is no gap in your kids care, ever and no matter what.
Beneficiary review — if it’s been awhile since you updated your beneficiary forms for retirement accounts, life insurance or other assets, it’s time for a review — especially if there has been a major change in your life. Make sure insurance and retirement accounts are never passed on to your minor children, outside of a Trust.
Estate plan review — if you have experienced a birth, death, marriage, divorce or other life-changing event since you last updated your estate plan, you need to be sure those changes are reflected by updating your plan.
Advance healthcare directive — if you become incapacitated and can’t make your own health care decisions, have you named someone who you can depend on to carry out your wishes? If not, you need to execute an advance health care directive that includes a durable power of attorney and a HIPAA release so your medical information can be shared.
Insurance update — is your life insurance still sufficient to meet the needs of your family? If not, then you should revise your policy before you go.
If you haven’t done any of these things, it’s time to take care of business. Contact a Personal Family Lawyer® to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best ways for you to protect and provide for your family.