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Packing for a summer vacation? Consider prepping a travel will.

For many families, summertime means vacation time. Trips to Europe or other exotic locations may be part of your summertime relaxation plan. If so, it may be wise to consider putting together a vacation will.

Why do I need a will before I go on vacation?

Putting together a will prior to a big vacation is a good idea, and one that is growing in popularity.

Some who choose an upcoming vacation as motivation to put together a will cite the recent increase in terrorist attacks and plane crashes as incentive, others point to the fact that they are leaving children behind with babysitters while taking a holiday and want the peace of mind of knowing that everything is planned out if something were to go wrong.

How do these documents work?

These documents can be structured to serve as a complete estate plan or to only go into effect in the event that something were to happen on vacation. The language used to structure the plan can help determine its exact function.

Those who are considering putting together a vacation will can benefit from the following tips:

  • Plan, plan, plan. If possible, plan out the will in advance. It takes a little time to tailor the legal document to fit your needs. This means attempting to put together a will a day before your flight may not be an option.
  • Execute the document. Without a signature and witnesses, the document will not be official. Make sure the document is drafted, reviewed, revised and executed (signed and witnessed) prior to leaving.
  • Communicate your wishes. Make sure your loved ones and others that may be impacted by the document are aware that the will exists. Tell them where they can find copies if needed and give them an idea of what your wishes are.

It is important to note that these are just a few general tips. The exact structure of the plan will vary depending on each individual's wishes and needs. This could include using guardianship documentation if children are present and including language to ensure pets are taken care of.

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