Organise your estate planning documents before travelling abroad

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Preparing a travel itinerary and coming up with ideas for an overseas trip is a very exciting time. However, during the travel preparations, many people are also filled with anxieties about leaving their homes and their loved ones behind for a short or long while. 

One of the things that a lot of people decide to check off their to-do list at this stage includes preparing their wills and other estate planning documents. Despite the fact that travelling on a plane is one of the safest forms of transport available, something about travelling a fair distance away from home encourages people to get these documents in order.

What could go wrong?

It is extremely unlikely that anything will go drastically wrong while a person is overseas on a work trip or a well-deserved break. But despite the very slim odds of something as traumatic as a plane crash occurring, if it were to happen and a person had no will in place, their estate would be subject to predetermined state laws which would be relied upon for the distribution of their estate assets. In this tragic scenario, such a person would have probably had their own ideas as to how their estate be split in the interests of their children, grandchildren, friends or any beloved charities or groups which would not then transpire in reality.

I have a will, so can I travel stress free? 

It is great that you have a will in place before you travel, but it is also crucial that you get your other estate planning documents in order as well. The three most important estate planning documents you should have in place before travelling overseas include: 

  • Will
  • Power of Attorney (relates to financial and personal matters)
  • Enduring Guardian (relates to lifestyle decisions such as medical treatment)

Your Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian documents would be necessary if the person travelling overseas returned home with a health issue that impeded on their ability to make their own financial and lifestyle decisions. In this scenario, it is often too late for this person to set up these two documents after their return, as they may be considered to have lost capacity to make such decisions. This is why it is critical to have both a Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian documents created and signed before leaving overseas so that others can be legally appointed as Enduring Guardian and Power of Attorney to make such decisions on your behalf if need be.

How to avoid problems for family members

The easy solution a person can undertake in order to travel stress free is to create or update all of their estate planning documents with a solicitor before going overseas. 

Overseas holidays are usually planned months and months ahead of time, yet many people only think about making or updating their will in the week or two prior to leaving. Give yourself plenty of time to complete this important task to ensure you can properly plan and make decisions in the best interests of your loved ones.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers and speak with one of our experienced estate planning solicitors. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.

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