If you are planning a vacation, you probably have a lot to prepare for before you get away. Between structuring your itinerary, getting plane tickets or train reservations, and booking hotels, creating an estate plan is probably not something you thought to add to your to-do list. Especially if you are leaving your kids at home, there's one more thing you must do before you leave – you need to complete your will or trust before going on vacation. In fact, this is a common reason people come into my office.
If something were to happen to you while away on vacation, whether an illness, injury or even death, your family would be stuck with a huge mess to clean up.
The Barber family of Southern California is an unfortunate example. Mom, dad and three kids went on a roadtrip to Arizona where they were in a terrible accident. Mom and dad died, and their three boys were injured, but alive.
It took the authorities a couple of days to locate any relatives, during which time the boys were in the protective custody of strangers. A fate no parent ever wants for their children in a time of tragedy, fear and grief.
The family member that was located first was a sister of the mom and she promptly took the boys back to her home and didn’t let any other family members see the boys.
It took many hundreds of thousands of dollars and at least 7 lawyers to sort out the family fighting that ensued over both the boys and the assets left behind by the Barber parents.
And it all could have been easily avoided with a small amount of planning in advance.
Making the commitment now to create a comprehensive estate plan will ensure your loved ones will not be stuck in court or conflict, if the unexpected happens while you are on vacation.
At least 8 weeks before you leave, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with us. During that Session, we’ll get you more financially organized than you’ve ever been before (ensuring none of your assets are lost if you are injured on your vacation) and guide you to make informed, empowered and educated choices for yourself and the people you love most. If you are leaving sooner than 8 weeks from now, call our office and let us know you need a rush Family Wealth Planning Session and we will see what we can do to get you started.
Whatever you do, do not just think a standard set of estate planning documents will serve you or your family. What you and your family need is a plan that properly addresses the care of your children (if you have minors at home), your assets and the parts of your life that go beyond just the money. We can explain more during the Family Wealth Planning Session. Schedule online.