Heading to a warm climate is a good idea but perhaps it is best to consider legal issues before leaving.
If you are a retiree who heads south after the holidays, it might be wise to create a checklist of at least four personal legal business items, according to LimaOhio.com in “Extra checklist before heading south for the winter.”
Not that January and February aren’t delightful here in the Baltimore-Washington area…
First, make sure that your living will and healthcare power of attorney documents have been updated. Does your family have copies of these documents? Or do you emailed copies to them ?
If you have these documents with us, we now scan them and forward a copy to you to send on to your decision makers. If they save that email, they will also have our contact information to access your Property Power of Attorney if needed.
Second, discuss the location of your estate planning portfolio with them, and how to contact your estate planning attorney. Update them if changes need to be made and get copies to your children and/or friends.
Third, make sure that your last will and testament is updated. Have you had any big changes in your life since the last time it was reviewed? Marriages, deaths, divorces, births, and adoptions are the typical “trigger” events that signal a need for review. Being out of town for an extended time is a good prompt to review how current your documents are, and how they address your concerns.
Who will have that document? If your estate planning attorney maintains original copies for clients, then make sure to have another original on your person or safely secured with a loved one.
Lastly, and this takes a little time but is well worth doing, create a list of all your assets. Make sure they are properly titled for your situation. Should you have all your bank accounts become Payable on Death to your spouse? When was the last time you checked your beneficiary designations? Chances are good there are beneficiary designations on your bank, investment, and retirement accounts and on your life insurance policies. Wherever you have a beneficiary designation, you should also have a contingent beneficiary.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and may include a trip in a southerly direction.
Reference: LimaOhio.com (Oct. 13, 2018) “Extra checklist before heading south for the winter”