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Don’t Go On Vacation Without an Updated Estate Plan!

Keeping your estate plan up-to-date is always crucial, and even more so when you’re on vacation. We know it’s likely one of the last things you want to do before hitting the beach, but updating your estate plan before your vacation could save you a lot of trouble. Even a simple issue can cause big problems when you’re away from home. Losing a credit card, for example, could easily be handled back at home by a loved one who’s your Power of Attorney Agent. Not only that, a solid estate plan will cover most emergencies you may face while you’re away. It’s not unusual at all for clients to want to get their plan in place before they get on the airplane, so if that’s you, you’re in good company!

Power of Attorney and Advance Directives

Powers of Attorney and advance directives ensure your financial and medical wishes will be followed in the event that you become incapacitated. Your designated helper(s) must follow the guidelines you’ve provided them, and even if you haven’t, they should know you well enough to make the same decisions you would make. Advance directives (also called Health Care Powers of Attorney) specify what type of care you should receive in certain situations. And don’t worry if you;re out of state – our Health Care Powers of Attorney are good in all 50 states.  Both of these options provide you with an assurance that if anything should happen while you’re away, your wishes will be followed pertaining to your care, and gives your loved ones the ability to maintain your finances.

Trusts Are Useful, Too

Along with your Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney, if you have a trust, it will name Successor Trustees who take over if you aren’t able to handle that job (for almost all the trusts we create, the clients are the trustees).  Your backup Trustee, as far as the trust and its assets are concerned, is just like your Power of Attorney Agent. In fact, it may be the same person. But a Power of Attorney Agent cannot do anything with your trust – they have to be named as Successor Trustee in your trust document. That way, between the Power or Attorney Agent (for assets not in your trust, such as your retirement plan) and your temporary backup Trustee (for assets in your trust, such as real estate and non-IRA investments) your financial affairs are taken care of. Later on, when you’ve returned from the vacation or are feeling yourself again, these helpers step aside and all that responsibility comes back to you. 

Worst Case

If you never “get around to it” so there’s no Power of Attorney or no Successor Trustee, the final recourse is a Guardianship Hearing in Court. Your Court-appointed Guardian can handle the same things as a Power of Attorney Agent or Trustee, but there’s a price – two prices, actually: money and time. Getting a Guardian appointed is way more expensive than getting a good Power of Attorney, and it takes a lot more time – often three months to get it done. This means that critical financial and health decisions can’t be made for that long. So save the money, the time and the worry – get your Powers of Attorney done or updated right away, so you can check that important “to-do” off your list.  

For our clients who are ACE Client Care™ members, the good news is that your estate plan is simple to update! Simply log in to your Client Portal to review your documents at any time, and if a routine change is necessary, give our team a call and update your plan free of charge. For those who are not currently ACE Client Care™ members, or those who want to get an estate plan established before taking off, Contact Highpoint Law today to get started.

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HighPoint Law Offices PC

At HighPoint Law Offices we support individuals, families, and businesses of all backgrounds with estate planning services that address their unique wishes, goals, and challenges.

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