We are looking at the importance of estate planning before you travel for two distinct purposes. First and foremost, it is an important step to ensure you are protected. Though we will explain how and why in a moment, that is the primary goal. Additionally, to learn why it is so critical, you must understand what a will can do for you. When you read the title of this blog, you likely jumped to the conclusion that you need one before you travel in case something happens to you on the trip. If you pass away, you will receive your assets. Although a will is an effective way of communicating your intentions, that is only one component of it.
The Other Components of an Estate Plan
Estate planning is your means of preparing for the future, regardless of what it holds. It may never happen, but one of the most significant events you can plan for is being incapacitated. If you are traveling and will be away from your doctor, how can your medical provider get your medical information? The HIPAA Authorization Act prevents people from accessing their healthcare information without authorization. A convenient way around that is you can authorize your spouse, friend, or whoever is traveling with you to be able to receive that vital information if you are incapable of giving consent.
Along those same lines, you need someone to advocate for you and the treatment you receive. In Michigan, you must create a durable power of attorney for healthcare.This is not to be confused with a durable power of attorney that allows you to make financial decisions—but you should have both. They remain in effect even if you are incapacitated.
To give you an idea of how important these documents are, imagine that you have an elderly parent who lives alone. They become incapacitated. If they never created a durable power of attorney for healthcare, you cannot speak on their behalf—regardless of your relationship with them and whether you know what they would have wanted. It is possible that you would have to take the issue to court to seek guardianship.
You also want to designate a guardian for your minor children if you should pass away. You and your spouse should have this difficult conversation as soon as you become parents. Take the time to talk through who you would want to raise your children in your absence. Furthermore, you also need to speak with the potential guardian to ensure they are willing to accept this massive responsibility. To make matters slightly more complicated, you should know who would be a backup guardian if your first choice cannot do it.
Get in Touch With Our Estate Planning Attorneys
The attorneys at Hamilton Law have extensive experience with drafting wills, developing trusts, powers of attorney, and advanced directives. Whether you are preparing for an upcoming trip or need to begin estate planning, contact the experienced and reliable attorneys at Hamilton Law and schedule your free consultation.