Read This Before You Head Off On Vacation!

The following is shared with permission by my friend and colleague, Rania Combs, Esq., a Texas estate planning attorney who serves clients in Texas through her completely virtual law practice based in North Carolina.  It’s a brave new world!  Here are some thoughts and helpful, practical tips she shared in her recent e-newsletter about preparing to leave on vacation with her husband, without their three minor children:

Preparing for Aruba!
A few of weeks ago, my husband called with some exciting news. He earned an all-expense paid trip at work for himself and a guest to Aruba! We leave the middle of June for five days. I can’t wait!

Despite my excitement, my mommy brain has gone into overdrive as the trip approaches. As I’ve mentioned before, I get a bit anxious travelling away from my children, especially when both my husband and I are traveling together.

Yes, I know that the odds of being involved in a car accident are astronomically larger than being involved in a plane crash, but I still get nervous.  And with Osama Bin Laden now dead, my anxieties are heightened because there are a few mean people in the world who are really mad at us.

So I’m relieved that my husband and I will be taking separate flights. I will fly out of Houston after dropping my kids off at my mom’s house, and my husband will leave from the east coast. We also will be talking separate flights back. I’ll be flying back to Houston for a two week visit, and he will be travelling to North Carolina.

With flight plans out of the way, I took some other steps to ensure that my kids will be protected my absence. If you plan to leave your children in the custody of a friend and family member this summer, doing the following things may give you some peace of mind too.

Appointment of Guardian in Case of Death or Incapacity

I have previously appointed a guardian for my children in the case of my incapacity or death, but the original of the document is stored in my fireproof safe in my home, along with my other estate planning documents.

The guardian I selected knows where it is located, but she also lives in another city and the logistics accessing it in case of an emergency would be challenging. So I made a copy of the appointment to give her, along with a reminder of where the original is located. That way, she’ll at least have a copy in case of an emergency until she can get to the original.

Designation of Health Care Agent

It’s unpleasant to consider that any of my children will require medical care while I am away, but the chance does exist. So, I prepared a Designation of Health Care Agent giving my mom, and alternatively my sister, permission to make any and all health care decisions related to the welfare of my children at all times while the kids are in their care and custody.

If you will be leaving your children with a caregiver for a period of time, Designation of a Health Care Agent for them will ensure that the caregiver has the authority to seek medical care for them if the need arises.

Document Listing Pertinent Information

You know your children’s doctors, dentist, orthodontist, and any medical regimen they are on, but a caregiver may not. So it’s important to provide your caregiver this information, along with pertinent insurance information, so it is accessible if needed. Include things such as:

  1. The name of your health insurance provider and member identification number
  2. The name and phone number of your child’s physician 
  3. The name and number of your child’s dentist and/or orthodontist
  4. Your name and address and a phone number where you can be reached
  5. Any medication your child may be taking regularly, along with instructions on when the medications must be taken and the dosage.

In case of an emergency, your caregiver will have all this information in one place and will be relieved of the stress of having to find it.

And then go on your trip, relax and enjoy a much needed break!

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About Danielle G. Van Ess

Danielle G. Van Ess is a Massachusetts (born and raised), experienced estate planning and small business attorney who helps her clients protect and preserve what matters most to them. To learn more, please visit: dgvelaw.com or call: 781-740-0848