Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break Checklist -- Lawyer Style

Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013 -- Door Co., Wisconsin 

It's that time of year.  Daylight last a little longer, snow begins to melt, spring bulbs search for blue sky, and people seek warmer locales to spend 5 to 7 days relaxing.  Spring breakers travel checklists most likely include: set up pet sitter, cancel newspaper, get spending money, pack swimsuit, etc..  And then there are lawyers who travel, especially estate planning lawyers.  Before we head out the door, there are a few things that come to mind:

  1. A copy of the power of attorney for health care -- the document that gives another person authority to make medical decisions if I am not able to.  My documents were drafted here in Wisconsin, and should be recognized in any state where I am traveling.  Just as they'd recognize my marriage license, they should recognize this legal form.  Without one on hand, it becomes a scavenger hunt if I am sick or hurt.  It is on my "pack list";
  2. Emergency contact to take care of pets if you are delayed due to illness while traveling.  Many people know cats are independent for a few days.  But what happens if your 4 days on the beach turns into a 2 week hospital stay?
  3. Contact numbers left on paper.  Yes, your phone is really smart and has all of your friends, relatives, etc. listed including addresses and phone numbers.  What happens if that smart phone is damaged or cannot be found and you are sick.  I leave a list of numbers on top of our estate planning binder: sitter, trustee (if both parents die), Personal Representative.  None of whom know one another.  How hard would it be for loved ones to piece these contacts together for you?
  4. Name and location of the preferred doctor / urgent care / hospital for your health insurance.  Spring break tends to fall smack dab in the middle of flu season.  Where will you go in the middle of the night if an ear infection strikes?  Save money and stress by spending 15 minutes collecting this information before you leave for fun in the sun!
Thanks for reading, and where ever you will be over the next few weeks, enjoy the arrival of Spring weather!

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