Bon Voyage! Or is it?

Although the official first day of summer is not until June 21, May marks the beginning of summer for millions of school children across the country. Summer break also means summer vacation, and vacations require planning.  As parents are preparing to take their children to the beach, to the mountains, or somewhere in between, they quickly can be overwhelmed by all of the planning that goes into travel. Trying to remember all those important items they must take care of before they leave can be taxing, and lead to missing a few very important details. Here are two ways to make your vacations more relaxing and enjoyable.

Make Sure Legal Documents are Easily Accessible

If the family is going somewhere that does not allow for pets, they arrange to board the dog. If they expect to be gone for a while, they stop the mail or the newspaper. They make sure that the neighbors know to keep an eye on the house. There are a thousand tasks that require attention to make for a successful, and relaxing, vacation. However, there is one thing that most people forget about before leaving: having the necessary documents in place, and accessible.

While statistically much of the population has no estate planning documents in place in the event of emergency, even fewer have told their loved ones where those important documents are located. Having documents, but not knowing how to locate them, makes them irrelevant in an emergency. Part of proper vacation planning is to have documents in place and to make sure those documents are easily-accessible where loved ones know how to locate them. As popular as they are, bank safe deposit boxes are not for storing legal documents because banks have bank hours, and life has life hours. It is all-but-impossible to get legal documents out of a safe deposit box on a Sunday afternoon, especially from out of state. Legal documents should be easily accessible but protected. A fireproof box located in the home is the perfect option to provide accessibility and protection. Then, it is as easy as telling loved ones where the fireproof box is located inside the home.

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Make Sure To Prepare When Children Travel With Others

Often in the summer children will travel with friends or family members outside of immediate family.  It is important to consider and to adequately prepare prior to a child traveling with others.  Copies of passports, birth certificates and social security cards are important to have on hand, whether traveling with family or as a guest.

The host family should insist on receiving copies of these documents in case they are ever put in a situation that requires them to make a medical decision. What happens if a child breaks an arm while skiing? Do the host parents have the legal authority to make medical decisions in the case of an emergency? Parents who allow their children to go on vacation with other families should have a power of attorney in place for their child. Often called a Special Limited Power of Attorney, such document allows the host family to make  emergency medical decisions limited only for the duration of the trip, and setting any parameters in place that the host family should or should not have authority to decide.

While the chaos of planning for summer vacation can be stressful, the peace of mind that comes with preparation will make that summer vacation all the more relaxing.


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