Get Your Affairs in Order Before You Take that Summer Trip

Ready to take that trip this summer? Whether by plane, train or automobile, a scheduled trip can be a great motivator to get your affairs in order, especially for parents of minor children. The following is a list and brief description of basic documents you should consider or review before you pack your suitcase.

  1. Last Will and Testament. This document sets forth what will happen to your property when you die and who will handle your estate. It also can provide for who will take care of your minor children if you couldn’t and who would handle their inheritance and under what terms. In Ohio, a Will must be executed in accordance with Ohio law to be valid. If you already have a Will, it is a good idea to have it reviewed periodically to ensure it still is in line with your wishes and accounts for changes in your life, like a new grandchild, or changes in the law, like the transfers to minors act (see http://www.perlalaw.com/important-change-to-the-ohio-transfers-to-minors-acts-otma/). Depending on what property you own and what wishes you have concerning that property, you may also want to consider a Trust or Transfer on Death Affidavit.
  2. Financial Power of Attorney. This document gives another person authority over your financial affairs while you are alive. It is an important document to have in place in the event of your disability.
  3. Health Care Power of Attorney. This document gives another person authority over your health care decision making if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. It is an important document to have in place in the event of a serious health event.
  4. Health Care Power of Attorney for Minor Children. If you have minor children and both parents will be travelling without them, it is a good idea to consider putting a Health Care Power of Attorney  in place temporarily for the caregivers so that if a medical event occurs and the medical provider cannot reach the parents, the caregivers have authority to authorize care.
  5. Living Will. This document provides that you do not want to your life artificially prolonged in the event you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

For more information on Estate Planning, contact a Cleveland Estate Planning Lawyer.