By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney
We live in a day and age when traveling has never been easier or more available than it is today. Through modern technology the speed of travel has increased and a person can literally find themselves in any major city in the world within a short time. As an estate planning attorney for the last 20 years I have had numerous clients ask me about what they should do with their estate planning documents when they travel. Below is a list of the three main documents included in a person’s basic estate plan and what should be done with these documents while traveling.
- Your Powers of Attorney
Your powers of attorney are perhaps the single most important documents that you can take with you while you travel. The reason for this is that an injury or illness can happen to you at any time and in any location. By taking your Powers of Attorney with you say in your luggage, you are specifically able to inform any health care providers or other individuals or institutions that you deal with about who can do these things for you if you suddenly are unable to do them for yourself.
Specifically your health care power of attorney is a document that could easily be used while you are traveling. If it anytime while you are traveling you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, because you are unconscious or because you lack the capacity to do so, it is important for your health care providers to know who they can talk to about medical options that may be necessary or available. The health care power of attorney does not require the individual who holds the power to physically be in the same location where you are. Rather, so long as you have provided the individual’s contact information your healthcare providers can contact the individual you have granted the power of attorney to so that important medical decisions can be made.
- Your Living Will
Likewise, your living will is an important document that contains your end of life instructions if you find yourself in a situation where you have a terminal condition because of an injury or illness, you are on life-sustaining medical procedures, and you cannot communicate with your healthcare providers. In this instance you have provided specific instructions that your healthcare providers are legally obligated to follow. Well it is true that if your living will is scanned into your medical documents with your home health care providers you may they may be able to be transmitted to the location where you are, it is far better to carry this document with you so that there are no delays and making decisions if the circumstances require.
- Your Last Will and Testament
Finally, you have your last will and testament. This is a document that I wouldn’t recommend that you travel with. However I would recommend that prior to traveling you review your last will and testament and make sure that it contains the directions and instructions that you currently want. Having assisted clients with estate planning for nearly two decades, I can tell you that there are many times when a client is preparing to travel and they will bring their last will and testament to me to update it so that it is current.
In addition to traveling, if you ever go through a major life change it would be an important time for you to review your last will and testament to make sure it’s still accomplish is what you want. A major life change could include the birth of a child, the death of an individual in your family, a divorce, marriage, or just the passage of a long period of time. Any of these events could drastically change the instructions and appointments that you make in your last will and testament.
ENLIST AN ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU
When it comes to estate planning or probate you should never try to do it alone. If you have questions for yourself or for your family and loved ones, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.