As summer approaches, many of us will be planning vacations. Some of us may take our children and others may decide a “grown up only” vacation is well needed! Either way, the number of cars and length of time we each spend on the roads increases. Naturally, with the increase of drivers on the road, there is also an increase of motor vehicle accidents.
In a 2013 report by U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it states that during the months of April, May and June of 2013 there were 8,200 fatalities on the roads. It increased to 9,000 during the months of July, August and September 2013.
Of course, wearing seat belts, turning off our cell phones and just simply driving safely does reduce the risk of accidents. But, accidents still happen. Because we all naturally live with this risk, it becomes even more important during the summer to have the necessary legal documents in place BEFORE leaving for vacation.
What legal documents are important?
1. Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will and Financial Power of Attorney. In case of an accident and you are seriously hurt, you may need to have someone manage your finances until you are well. You may also need someone to make medical decisions for you during this time if you cannot make them yourself. Not having these documents properly drafted puts your health and finances at risk.
2. Nominate guardians for your children. If you pass away you need to make certain that your children will be cared for by the person of your choosing. In addition, you should always have a file with all your children’s medical information, pediatrician information, allergy list, medications, etc. If you are on vacation without your children, your child’s caregiver may need to care for them longer than planned if you get into an accident. Making certain the caregiver has the proper plan in place only helps your children during a very difficult time.
3. Establish a Revocable Living Trust. If you pass away as a result of this accident, you need to make certain that there is someone to distribute your assets to the individuals you decide should have your assets. This means you keep control over the who, when and how much, not someone else. A Trust will also help if you do not pass away, but are seriously injured, your Successor Trustee can immediately step in and help with your finances. But the only way this can happen is if your Trust is properly created and specific assets are owned by the Trust.
If you don’t have a proper Estate Plan in place and you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, this is a perfect time to contact our Charlotte Wills and Trusts Law Firm at (704) 843-1446 or contact us online and let us help you create an Estate Plan that reflects your wishes and needs.