Before You Hit the Road: Your Pre-Travel Checklist

Nothing's better than the anticipation that comes with taking a major tripwhether it's to visit family or a close friend, or to explore a different country. But before you skip down the terminal with your carry-on luggage in tow, don't forget to complete all of the items on your pre-travel checklist, going beyond postponing your mail service, setting the light timers and lining up someone to water your plants.

While the possibility of having an emergency is the last thing you want to think about before taking an extended trip, reviewing your estate planning documents should be at the top of your pre-travel checklist. Being prepared for the unexpected can prove invaluable. That's why it's important to check that your estate planning documents are completed and up-to-date.

Estate planning documents you should review prior to traveling include:
  • A will. A will directs who you would like to inherit your property and assets when you die, ensuring that your family, friends and favorite charities receive the consideration you intended. Even if you only have a few assets, a will can make things easier for your family when you pass away.

  • A durable power of attorney for finances. This is a simple, inexpensive and reliable way to arrange for someone (i.e., your agent) to manage your finances if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney for finances (or financial power of attorney) can prevent your spouse or most trusted loved one from having to ask a court for authority over your financial affairs if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Typically, the agent is given broad power to handle all of your finances, but you can give your agent as much or as little power as you wish in your document.

  • A power of attorney for health care decisions. If you become incapacitated because of an accident or illness, you will want medical decisions to be made by someone you trust. This document gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf in deciding your medical care.
Because it is often necessary to present the original documents to invoke power, these documents should be easily accessible, and the person you select should know where to locate them. The most important thing is that you communicate with your family to ensure they know what to do if the unthinkable happens while you're away.

Did You Know?  You can easily include Gustavus in your will or living trust.

If you would like to learn more about supporting our mission through your estate plans, contact Jackie Peterson at 507-933-7543 or today.