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Take the stress out of vacation with estate planning

Summer is often a time for road trips, camping and lounging at the beach, and many people in Oklahoma plan to go on vacation at some point in the coming months. Travelers usually make sure to request time off from work and pack up coolers full of snacks, but there is one crucial pre-trip step that is usually missed -- estate planning. Vacation might illicit images of fun and relaxation, but that fails to take into account the realities of what might happen.

Of course, no one really enjoys thinking of "what if" situations just before hitting the road for a well-earned vacation. Still, it is important to make sure that an unexpected accident does not turn a vacation into an estate administration nightmare. Before setting off on a summer adventure, making sure that an estate plan is in order can allow vacationers to truly enjoy their vacations. Making a will is typically the first step in estate planning. A will allows individuals to outline exactly how their estate should be handled and to whom certain assets should be passed.

A living will -- which is inherently different from a typical will with which most people start their estate plan -- is also a great document to have in place. Vacations often include plenty of travel time, and car accidents can leave travelers in medically incapacitated states. A medical power of attorney appoints an individual to be in charge of the incapacitated person's care, while living wills provide instructions for their care, including what treatments and interventions he or she is comfortable with.

Estate plans can be made even more thorough by updating beneficiaries on accounts and creating a durable power of attorney who can make financial decisions on an incapacitated person's behalf. No one in Oklahoma wants to worry about what might happen after their deaths while trying to relax on vacation. Adding these simple estate planning decisions to pre-vacation to-do lists can make traveling virtually free of stress.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Before You Travel This Summer, Don't Forget These 5 Estate Planning Must Dos", Steve Cook, May 26, 2016

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