There is a lot of planning involved to get ready for a vacation, but here are a few items to add to your planning checklist.
Have you checked your beneficiary designations lately? Many people have outdated beneficiary designations in place – it’s easy to overlook changing those when you have life events occur that would require a change. Take a look at your IRA, 401(k) and life insurance to double check that the beneficiaries you have named are still the correct ones.
If you have a trust based plan, are those new accounts you’ve opened since you signed your trust titled in your trust name? It’s easy to change banks or investment companies and neglect to keep those accounts in your trust, but it’s also easy to get those corrected. Let’s remember that a big reason you set up a trust in the first place is to make sure that not only do you avoid probate court upon your death, but also that your carefully crafted trust directions control everything that you own.
Do you have your advanced directives and financial powers of attorney in place and updated? It can be stressful enough to become ill or injured while on vacation without also worrying that you don’t have your living will, health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney in place. Knowing you have the right people named as your decision-makers and that you have made your wishes known makes traveling easier.
Are your will, trust and other documents still unsigned? Maybe you’ve been reviewing them and thinking about making some changes. It’s always better to have a plan in place that meets most of your big goals and concerns rather than waiting for it to be “perfect.” And “perfect” today may not be “perfect” tomorrow, but remember once everything’s in place you are at least covered and can always make those changes to “perfect” you plan later – after vacation!
Do you have your estate planning documents in a safe place? Does a family member know where they are or have a copy? Do you have your documents also in a digital form that you or your family can access easily? Having all of this in order can give you peace of mind when you head out of town for that much earned vacation.
If you haven’t done any planning, or your current plan is extremely outdated, try to make arrangements to get that done before you leave for vacation, or get it on your calendar for as soon as you return.
THEN JUST ENJOY YOUR VACATION!