Law Office of Dana L. White: Traveling this Summer?
Here are 4 Documents You Should Have Before Your Adventure:
The Summer Solstice of June 21st marked the official beginning of Summer.
For most, Summer portends leisurely rest, blooming flowers, fireworks, swimming pools, ice cream socials, & the treasured VACATION!
And let’s be realistic: You know it’s time for a vacation when you start looking like the person on your driving license!
WAIT, journey-venturing neighbors! As our firm’s mantra communicates, traveling families must take steps to “Protect What Matters Most.”
Certainly, the welfare of your family and your wishes in regard to yourself and your family “matter,” right?
While vacation naturally involves family activities and relaxation, all travelers should have a plan for protection should they perish, become injured &/or incapacitated. If you have children, who will oversee them and determine outcomes on their behalf? How do you want your assets distributed?
So, before leaving for your Summer vacation, make certain you have executed these four vital estate planning documents:
1. Last Will & Testament
If a person passes without a Will, he/she dies intestate, meaning Texas laws control property distribution, and perhaps an outcome contrary to your wishes. Wouldn’t you rather have your assets distributed to your chosen beneficiaries? And wouldn’t you want to appoint trusted persons to make decisions for your children? NOW is the perfect time to discuss with family about what happens with your assets, liabilities, & children if something happens, even if you aren’t planning on vacationing!
2. Durable General Power of Attorney
This document appoints a trusted individual to serve as your agent, conferring him/her with a full Power of Attorney (POA). This power allows your trusted agent to pay bills, access financial accounts, and make financial transactions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. The POA takes effect immediately and remains in effect until you die or until you subsequently revoke it.
3. Medical Power of Attorney
Traveling or not, healthcare emergencies can occur at any place and time — and usually occur when you least expect them! A Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) appoints your agent to make all health care choices for you and takes effect ONLY if you are unable to make your own decisions. The MPOA endures indefinitely from the time it is executed unless you establish a shorter time period or later revoke it.
4. Medical Directive to Physicians
Known as an “Advance Directive,” (AD) this document allows you to communicate your wishes about medical treatment when you are unable to make those known due to illness, injury, or incapacitation. You should provide copies to your physician(s), hospital(s), and medical facilities.