Estate Planning: What You Should Know Before Your Next Vacation

Anita D’Amico November 13, 2018

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It may still feel like winter, but spring is actually here, and summer is just around the corner.  With the change in seasons, many people decide to take spring break and summer vacations. Between packing for your trip, planning activities and creating itineraries, the last thing on your mind may be the possibility of a catastrophic accident occurring, or worse, not returning home.  While we often times avoid considering the worst-case scenario, there is a real possibility that something can happen to you while you are on a vacation, and you should be prepared.

One thing that can put your mind at ease so that you can better enjoy your time away is to seek legal advice for Estate Planning and get your estate documents in place before you leave.  Specifically, you should speak to an attorney who drafts Wills, Advanced Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney documents. Without executed Estate Planning documents, your desires for the disbursement of your property and the care you wish to have in the event of a medical emergency will either be decided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or your loved ones, and those final decisions may not necessarily be what you want and ultimately put unnecessary stress on your family members during an already difficult time.  Here is a breakdown of the purpose of each document and how they can protect your interests:

Will:  A Will is a legal document that allows you to distribute your property and debts as you see fit.  Any type of property from investment accounts and other financial assets, to furniture, jewelry or other important pieces of tangible property, can be included in your will.  When drafting a will, you can choose an Executor, who is the person that ultimately carries out the terms of your will. If you name any Beneficiaries (people who receive assets from your estate) who are minors, you have the option of creating a trust for the assets they inherit, until they reach the age of majority.  If you have pets, you can arrange for their care if you predecease them.

Advanced Health Care Directive:  An Advanced Health Care Directive is also known as a Living Will.  This document takes effect in the event that you suffer a medical emergency and become incapacitated.  You have the ability to appoint a Health Care Directive Power of Attorney, who is responsible for carrying out the terms of your Advanced Health Care Directive.  Through this document, you state whether you want to be on life-sustaining treatment if you become incapacitated.

Power of Attorney:  A Power of Attorney document can take many different forms, but for Estate Planning purposes, a General Power of Attorney appoints a person, known as the Attorney-in-Fact, to make important decisions on your behalf. Examples of such decisions include decisions relating to the purchase or sale of real estate, bank accounts and other financial functions, and dealing with business affairs.  Your Power of Attorney will not go into effect until a certain event is triggered, most commonly, in the event that you become incapacitated.

D’Amico Law, PC specializes in Estate Planning.  We are available to assist you with any questions you may have regarding the drafting and execution of Estate Planning documents.  If you are interested in learning more about estate planning, please contact our office by calling 610-444-4555 or emailing us at

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