Passport. Hotel Reservations. Living Trust?

What no vacation is complete without

When the inhabitants of Gilligan’s Island went out for their three-hour tour aboard the S. S. Minnow, chances are they were not prepared for what was about to befall them. Of course, Thurston and Eunice “Lovey” Howell (being the money-savvy individuals they were) probably had a comprehensive estate plan, complete with a Revocable Living Trust. But what about the rest of them? If they had never been rescued—or worse yet, died at sea—would Mary Ann’s family be stuck in probate court attempting to divide her property even today?

It’s easy to discuss life after disaster when we’re dealing with fictional characters, but what if it were you? Before taking a trip, it’s good to ask yourself some important questions: What measures have I taken to protect my legacy if something were to happen to me? Who would make medical decisions for me if I were incapacitated? Is my family aware of my wishes regarding my kids, health, and finances?

You may have booked your flight, reserved your hotel and arranged for a private tour of the Louvre, but if you haven’t made legal provisions for yourself and your family, there are other planning measures we suggest. A postcard of the Champs-Élysées will not be enough to remind your loved ones of your individuality, your values, and your legacy.

Let’s take a leaf out of the Howells’ book. Before you pack your bags, these are the suggested documents to have in place.

Things to have in place before traveling

First of all, if nothing else, have a Will. A Will designates guardians for your minor children, as well as divides and distributes your assets among your beneficiaries.

In addition to a Will, consider establishing a General Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive. These documents name an “agent” who will take charge of your financial affairs and medical decisions if you are unable to do so.

Finally, consider setting up a Revocable Living Trust. Among the many benefits of a Living Trust is the fact that your loved ones will not have to deal with the possible delays and costs of probate. Furthermore, you will be able to designate not only to whom your assets are given, but when, and how. You may also establish guidelines for the use of the inheritance and protect it from things like divorce, creditors, remarriage, and unwise spending of your heirs.

Attend a workshop or schedule a consultation

Whether you need help establishing these documents for the first time, or you want to make sure your documents still accomplish what you want them to accomplish, Hammond Law Group can help. If you haven’t yet created an estate plan, attending an estate planning workshop can give you the essential information you need to know before starting. Scheduling a consultation with one of our attorneys is the next step for getting your plan in place or reviewing your existing plan. Finally, communicating your plan to your loved ones will help ensure that things go smoothly. One of the easiest ways to do this is to invite your loved ones to attend a client workshop with you. Look for an upcoming Understanding Your Estate Plan workshop at Hammond Law Group offices and reserve seats for you and your loved ones. They’ll thank you for it!

Once your estate plan is put in place and communicated, relaxing and enjoying the lights of Paris, the beaches of Hawaii, or even the oasis of the Sahara can happen the way they were meant to be enjoyed: worry-free!


By the American Academy, Compliments of Hammond Law Group

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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