You’ve probably read that major life events like marriage, buying a house, having a baby, sending a child off to college, and getting divorced are top reasons people choose to create or update a will or put a young adult power of attorney form in place.
But there’s another event that serves as a strong motivator for putting these important legal documents in order – going on vacation.
If you’re planning to get on a plane or travel internationally any time soon, add these three legal documents to your to do list.
Wills and POAs – Important Documents to Complete Before Traveling
Whether you’re a parent with young children or you’re traveling internationally for the first time, or you’re just getting ready to board a plane for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, wills and power of attorney forms are critical legal documents to complete before traveling.
Let’s review the top three documents to put in order before vacationing.
#1 – Your Will
We’ve written before about why you need a will; or, if it’s been five years or more, or you’ve experienced a major life event since you created your last will, why you need a current will before you travel. We need look no farther than the pandemic to be reminded of an uncomfortable reality – anything can happen.
No one is immune from an accident or illness. And, while most vacations go as planned without life-altering disruptions, it’s always better to be prepared for disaster than to be surprised by it.
A will is a legal document outlining your desires regarding the legal care of your minor children and distribution of your property and assets upon your death.
Wills aren’t just for people with young children or those with substantial wealth and assets. Everyone needs a will. And everyone should have one before traveling.
Most people delay creating a will because they think it will take too long, be too difficult and cost too much money. Mama Bear Legal Forms helps you overcome all of those obstacles with our will package.
Our attorney-built documents are state-specific and legally binding and only cost $129. We also throw in two other important documents free – a health care power of attorney and finance power of attorney form.
In less time than it takes to pack your carry-on bag, you can create a will and travel carefree.
#2 – A Young Adult Power of Attorney Form
Whether you’re the parent of a college student and are preparing to go on a trip, or you are a young adult yourself getting ready to travel, a young adult power of attorney (POA) form is another helpful legal document to put in place before you travel.
If you’re asking, “why do I need a young adult POA?” you’re not alone. Many parents ask this question. We’ve answered that in depth in our Power of Attorney Forms for a Child post.
In a nutshell, we all assume that because we’re married or a parent, we have automatic authority to handle decisions for our loved ones. Once a child turns 18, or in the case of medical care in some states, when children are as young as 12, parents no longer have the right to make medical or financial decisions for them.
Absent a power of attorney form and healthcare power of attorney form, parents are not authorized to help adult children manage their financial, legal or healthcare decisions. By age 18, HIPAA privacy laws pull the curtain fully closed and doctors, banks and insurance companies will no longer communicate with a parent about a child’s account or health condition.
Sadly, accidents can happen at any time (including while traveling) that cause an adult child to become incapacitated. Someone who normally makes wise, level-headed decisions may become impaired temporarily by an illness or accident and need assistance making medical and financial decisions.
Every adult should have a durable power of attorney for health care and the same for financial decisions because these forms designate who is authorized to handle medical and financial decisions in an emergency.
Without these forms, a state may appoint a guardian or conservator for you. Not only can it not be the parent, but the process can be complex and expensive. Power of attorney forms eliminate this concern.
There’s much more to learn about POAs. We’ve addressed common questions, such as who to name as an agent, who must sign a POA to make it valid, and how to select your home state, elsewhere. If you’re worried about being a helicopter parent by putting one in place, it’s worth thinking through.
Creating a young adult POA isn’t a sign of being an over-involved parent. It’s about empowering your child to begin thinking about estate planning and taking a proactive, responsible step to prepare for crises before they occur. Putting a POA in place now takes the catastrophe of becoming incapacitated without the power to name someone you trust to make life and death decisions for you off the table.
What loving parent wouldn’t take that step?
#3 – A Vacation POA
Similar to the other POA forms already mentioned, a vacation power of attorney form is a short, but very helpful document that provides caregivers with legal authority over your children while you are traveling.
Leaving children with grandma and grandpa while mom and dad getaway on a trip is a common practice. We all assume that if something happens and one of the kids needs to go to the doctor, grandma and grandpa will be able to consent to their treatment.
However, absent a POA giving them the authority to do so, that ability is not guaranteed. Mama Bear Legal Forms created a vacation POA package that gives grandma and grandpa, Aunt Becky, your best friend, or whoever will be watching your kids while you’re away the power and authority to consent to treatment for your children, should something happen while you’re vacationing.
We’ve also included an instruction list with contacts and notes for the caregiver, so you can create the form and pass it to your chosen caregiver, with all the critical information they’ll need in one handy document.
Get Your Will or POA Package Now
Creating or updating your will or vacation POA doesn’t take long or cost much. You can do it in 20 minutes from the comfort of your own home at a time that is convenient for you.
Mama Bear Legal Forms provides law firm quality, state-specific documents that are easy to create, simple to download and incredibly affordable.