Having just returned from holiday and catching up with friends who have also just come back, we discussed the amount of preparation involved in planning a holiday, especially when we are determined to save money and do it all ourselves.
We discussed the time spent clearing out emails and paperwork relating to a holiday once you get home. There is the frequent exchange of emails with the owner of the property being rented, the corresponding bank transfer documents, the emails and paperwork from hotels used as stopovers, flight details or ferry and Eurotunnel confirmations, insurance documents, the vaccination card for the dog’s kennel stay, the printed directions, note to neighbours to put bin out... the list goes on.
In recalling this chat it occurs to me that people probably put more time and effort into organising a two week break than they put into organising their legal affairs.
At the same time there are some clients who have a sudden concern that something unexpected might happen while away on holiday and get in touch hoping for Wills to be prepared and ready for signing before they embark on their holiday the next day.
I would advise people to consider the following: It is far easier to get your affairs in order when there is no compulsion to do so and when you have time to seek proper advice and consider your options carefully. Once your affairs are in order you can head off on holiday anytime knowing everything is in place.
What is actually required varies with circumstances and needs. Some people only need a simple Will while others may require more complex estate planning. You might consider writing a handwritten Will prior to going on holiday in order to have some peace of mind that your estate will go to your intended beneficiaries but be aware that using a homemade Will is neither a desirable approach nor a long-term solution. It is not as reliable and considered as a properly prepared and executed will.
Everyone should also have Powers of Attorney in place to provide peace of mind should incapacity be an issue down the line. This allows a trusted Attorney to look after your financial affairs and be involved in health care decisions.
So before you set off on holiday get your affairs in order and place the documents in a safe place ensuring the necessary people have access to them.
Then relax and enjoy your break!