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Estate Planning and Vacations

Estate planning seems to come up as people prepare to go on vacations. Why?  Maybe they are concerned about not coming back from vacation or suffering an accident while travelling.  Whatever the reason, besides packing, stopping the newspaper (if they still get one delivered), putting the pets in a kennel or with a friend, people suddenly have to get Last Wills and Testaments prepared.    

The travelers must decide to whom to leave their assets, such as children, nieces and nephews or even charities.  They may want to set up a trust for their pets, which I have written about before.  They may need to choose guardians to take care of minor children or trustees to hold money for minor children until these children are grown up.  The travelers have to select an Executor, the person who will handle the Estate, and a contingent Executor.  These can be some very hard decisions to make right before you go away.   It may also be hard for your attorney to get everything done in the few days remaining before you leave town. 

It would be best to plan ahead so that you can do your estate planning while there is time to consider your decisions as to disposing of your property, who the Executor will be, who the guardian will be and who the trustee will be, as well as selecting contingent ones.  It is also best to work with an elder law attorney to make an appropriate estate plan, which includes Powers of Attorney and Living Wills.  Remember, while Pennsylvania still permits holographic Wills (done by you at home without an attorney), this is not the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.      

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