If you are going on a family vacation this summer, you probably have a to-do list that needs to be completed before you leave. Your list might include packing your bags, confirming hotel rooms and paying a friend to watch your house and water your plants. However, there is one task that is arguably more important than all the others, and it is typically the most overlooked. That task is to review and update your estate plan with your CPA, estate planning attorney and financial advisor.                         

If you listen to the radio or watch the news, you know that traffic accidents occur every day in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area and often someone dies or is seriously injured. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,627 people died in car accidents in Ohio and Kentucky in 2013. Thus, on average, 31 people each week are expected to die in car accidents in Ohio and Kentucky. The NHTSA consistently reports that almost half of all fatal traffic accidents occur each year between the months of June and October, when the weather is nice, kids are out of school and families are on vacation. For this reason, it is important to review your estate plan before you leave on your trip.

Even if you aren’t involved in a fatal accident, there is a greater chance that you could become unconscious, disabled or incompetent as a result of a traffic accident or illness. In those situations, who will make your medical decisions? Who will pay your bills? Who will run your business? If you aren’t sure, you need to have the proper documents in place. The most important documents you should have in place prior to your vacation include a Last Will and Testament, a Financial Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney (or Health Care Directive). You should give a copy of these documents to the person who will be responsible for making those decisions if necessary. That way, your documents are readily available if something unexpected happens to you.

If you are going on a vacation this summer, make it a priority to review your estate plan as part of your pre-vacation to-do list. Although unlikely, there is always a risk that something unexpected could happen to you and your loved ones on your trip. Your CPA, estate planning attorney and financial advisor can address issues that are relevant to your estate plan and give you recommendations for any changes you should consider prior to leaving on your trip.

 

Bill Hesch is a CPA, PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) and attorney licensed in Ohio and Kentucky who helps clients with their financial and estate planning. He also practices elder law, corporate law, Medicaid planning, tax law and probate in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. His practice area includes Hamilton Butler Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio, and Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties in Kentucky.