This month, like many tennis enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest, I will be traveling to Indian Wells, California to watch the BNP Paribas Open – the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world. Although I look forward to the event with great enthusiasm, in reality, this trip involves certain risks including: (1) taking a cab; (2) flying in a plane; (3) driving in an unfamiliar location; (4) traversing up and down narrow stadium stairs, often lacking railings; and (5) being outside in 100 degree weather for up to twelve hours at a time. Not to mention the risk of getting hit by an errant tennis ball!
In all likelihood, I’ll return from the trip unharmed except for the inevitable sunburn. However, many of my clients consistently take substantial journeys of a much riskier nature. Like most estate planning attorneys, I frequently receive communications from clients and potential clients who are anxious to update their Wills before they travel.
Is taking this precaution, and the accompanying concern that the trip may involve peril, silly? No. Unquestionably, sometimes people do die when they take trips.
People also die, every day, when they travel to their offices by car, bus, bike or foot. They sometimes die sitting at their desks at work, such as occurred last month with New York Times reporter David Carr. Many people die over the holidays, due in part to travel, but also because of stress and over-indulgence in holiday treats or beverages. People die for a variety of reasons, expected and unexpected. It’s a sound idea to update your estate planning documents before you go on vacation, but it’s an even better plan to update your estate planning documents because tomorrow is a new day. We never know precisely what any day has in store for us. We need to be as ready as possible for all of it – the good and the bad.
The reasons triggering a need to update your documents include a significant increase or decrease in your assets, a move to another state, the purchase of a second home, the death of a loved one, a new marriage or domestic partner, the desire to make sure your new pet’s needs will be continue to be met upon your death, or the fact that your estate plan was set up for children but those youngsters are now adults. As life happens, people change their mind about their estate distribution in terms of the amounts, people, and charitable organizations involved.
With that in mind, are you ready to take your next vacation?
Photo credit: inyucho on Flickr
This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.