Skip to main content

Natick - Local Town Pages

Things to Do Before You Start Traveling Again!

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to travel again and go places.  Now that we are able to come out of our homes and do the things we love to do and that we’ve been holding off doing, let’s make sure you can also have peace of mind knowing that you’ve got everything orderly in case something should unexpectedly happen.

1) The Legal Documents You Need If You Should Become Incapacitated: If you should ever become incapacitated, it is critical to have a Power of Attorney in place so that the person you want to take care of your financial matters can legally step into your shoes to handle something for you if you are unable to do so.  It is also essential to have a Health Care Proxy in place so that the person you want to make medical decisions for you, if you can’t, is legally authorized to do so.  If you don’t have these documents in place, and something happens to you, your loved ones may need to go to court to seek the ability to act on your behalf.  That court process, called a conservatorship and guardianship, is costly, time-consuming and very stressful for those who need to take care of you.  That cost, time and stress can be completely avoided by getting a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy in place NOW by meeting with an estate planning attorney and having the attorney prepare them for you.

2) The Legal Documents You Need When You Have Young Children:  At the very minimum, in addition to the above documents, if you have minor children, it is essential to get a Will in place and name a guardian who will care for your child if you can’t.  It is not unusual to hear from a client that it took them a long time to come and see us because they just couldn’t decide who they wanted as guardian for their children if they died. Although making this decision is a hard one, if you are having trouble deciding, just imagine what it would be like for a court to decide. Sometimes a decision (especially one that you can change) is better than no decision. An estate planning attorney can help you through your decision-making process and help you get an appropriate Will done so that your children will be taken care of.

3) The Legal Documents You Need Done NOW In Order to Be Prepared for the Future:  None of us like to think about dying, but not thinking about having the appropriate legal documents in place prior to something happening, no matter how unexpected it is, will just leave a mess for your loved ones.  In addition to having a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy (see above), you should have a Will even if you do not have young children so that you can say what you want to have happen and not leave it up to the state to decide it for you.  A Revocable or Irrevocable Trust may also be important.  A Trust can help avoid probate, minimize taxes, potentially give you asset protection, and also make sure those who you want to benefit are taken care of in the way you want.  

4) You’ve Got Legal Estate Planning Documents, But They Are Old:  You may say, ‘well, I already have these legal documents.’  That’s great, but do they still make sense for you?  Estate planning documents need to be updated over time.  If your documents are over 5 years old, you should have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney to make sure they still work for you and, if they don’t, get them updated.

5) Make Sure Those Who Will Be Taking Care of Things Are Informed:  Do those people who will be helping you should something happen even know that they are named to help you?  Do they know how to get access to your legal documents?  What about your account information and passwords?  Do you have them in a place that those who need to can find and access them?  It’s very stressful for the people taking care of you to have to turn the house upside down looking for things in a crisis.  Make a plan now so that you can help them later.

Now, go ahead and schedule that trip.  However, also call an estate planning attorney and get the above done now so that you can enjoy whatever you do and wherever you go.