By Guest Blogger Allen Starrett, Managing Attorney at Starrett Law Firm
1. Make sure your plan documents are up-to-date. If it has been a few years since you’ve reviewed your plan, pull everything out and make sure your plan documents still align with your wishes and life circumstances. Is the contact information for your health care agent still current? Is the guardian named in your will still the person you want to raise your children? (For info on nominating a guardian, click here.) Are the individuals named to serve as executor and trustee still your most optimal choices? Are you leaving your property to your desired beneficiaries? If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, then you should consider updating your plan.
2. Leave an action plan. If something happens while you’re away, make it easy for your loved ones to step in and help. Do they know where to locate your estate plan documents? Have you also created a list of your assets, accounts, and passwords? (For info on maintenance of online accounts and passwords, click here.) Your goal should be equipping family and friends with the information and directives they need to control the situation if circumstances warrant.
3. Execute an Authorization to Consent to Health Care of a Minor. If you are leaving your minor child in the care of a non-parent, then consider signing a legal authorization for the caretaker to make medical decisions on behalf of your child while you are away. Most authorizations are drafted broadly to cover many possible medical scenarios, although you may include restrictions and limitations on your caretaker’s decision-making authority. Contact our office if you would like to make this arrangement. We are completing them at no charge for Charlotte Smarty Pants readers through 8/31/2014.
4. Certify your powers of attorney. If you plan to travel overseas for an extended period of time, then consider certifying your health care power of attorney and, possibly, your general power of attorney. Certification occurs through the Authentication Office of the North Carolina Secretary of State (click here) and validates your power of attorney ahead of time. This spares you the inconvenience and potential headache of trying to prove the validity of your legal document while in a foreign country.
While completing the above checklist may not be as entertaining as mapping your Disney, Grand Canyon, or Spain itinerary, it is just as important to ensure that you make the most of your time away and enjoy yourself without worry.
Have a safe and happy summer!
If you have questions concerning this blog post, feel free to contact Allen at (704) 887-4944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
13850 Ballantyne Corporate Place, Suite 500
Charlotte, NC 28277
Disclaimer: Our firm published this article for general guidance and educational purposes only. Contact a licensed attorney in your state for specific legal advice.