Well, we made it! Summer is almost here. It’s time for hot beach days and no school for kids. Everyone loves summer, and for good reason! This summer, you might be preparing to go on vacation. There are many things to think about and plans to make before you go on vacation. You have to lock up the house, pack, get the kids ready, figure out who’s going to take care of the pets and plants, and more.
But what about the big picture? 99.9% of the time, vacations go off without a (major) hitch. But, as any estate planning attorney (or insurance agent) will tell you, it pays to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Here are some big-picture things to think about doing before you head off on a great adventure.
Things happen on vacation sometimes. It’s rare, but they can happen. You’re in a new environment doing new things. There’s always the chance that something could go wrong. If that occurs, you want to have a plan in place. A healthcare directive and power of attorney for healthcare are ways that you can give directions to hospitals and nurses giving you care. These tools will alert your healthcare providers to your preferences, even if you are unable to give the directions yourself at the time due to incapacitation.
Similarly, you probably have plans for your financial health in the event that something happens to you. However, something could happen that causes you to be unable to verbalize your wishes for your finances. A power of attorney for finances is, like for healthcare, a trusted individual that you select to make these decisions on your behalf. He or she knows what you want (because you’ve told them), and they will ensure that your money goes to the right place.
The Kids, Too
If you have minor children, they will need guardians if something happens to you. Make sure your estate plan includes details for who you want to take care of them in the worst-case scenario. Choose someone you believe would take the best care of your kids, not just overall, but also day-to-day. Talk to your proposed guardian to make sure they agree.
Insurance (All Kinds)
In addition to estate planning tips, there are other ways to prepare for every eventuality. One major way is through insurance. Are you renting a car? Get rental insurance. Are you flying? Get lost luggage insurance.
If you’re going to be gone for a while, you can also purchase vacation insurance. This type of insurance covers anything bad that could possibly happen while on vacation: medical emergencies, emergency assistance, cancellations, travel changes that result in extra expense, and more. It’s a good idea in general to make healthcare plans in case something happens. Find in-network providers in your vacation area. If they aren’t there, check to see the out-of-network costs. Some insurance plans will not charge you as much as the usual out-of-network fee if you go for an emergency.
What’s at your house that you can’t just leave? Think about what you do every week. Pets, plans, and perishables are the “Three P’s” of planning for vacation. Make sure your pet will be taken care of. If you have plants or a lawn that needs care, arrange for that as well. Empty out your fridge! This is something all too many people forget to do before vacation. We’ve all done it at some point and coming home to rotting food is definitely not a welcome surprise when you get back from a relaxing vacation.
We’re not saying that anything bad is going to happen on your vacation. But one thing about estate planning is that it takes into account every eventuality. If you like being prepared for pretty much anything, put the above tasks onto your to-do list before you go on vacation.