When planning your next great travel adventure, you may decide that you can do it yourself. You know what you and your travel companions want to see and do, how much you are willing to pay, and the most convenient times to travel. While making travel arrangements may be okay to do yourself, you need to consider calling in a special planning team to make sure that you and your loved ones are protected during your travels and afterward. The following are some individuals you should schedule appointments with before you leave on your next adventure.
A financial advisor can help ensure your finances are in order and accessible. When traveling, you must make sure that you have access to your money and can reach your financial advisor if necessary. If an emergency arises, access to your funds is crucial. Additionally, while traveling, you may want to make a large purchase. But what happens if the item you want to buy exceeds the amount you brought with you? You may need a financial advisor's assistance to gain access to your money to buy your once-in-a-lifetime memento.
An insurance agent can help you review or obtain necessary insurance policies. First, if you have existing life insurance policies, it is important that you periodically review your policies and beneficiary designations. Preparing for a vacation is a great time to conduct this review. As you are reviewing your policy, consider the following questions:
- Who is listed as the primary and contingent beneficiaries on the policy?
- Do you want to make any changes to the beneficiaries or the amount of insurance coverage?
- Does your beneficiary designation match your existing estate plan (especially if you have a trust and intend the trust to be the primary beneficiary of the life insurance policy and to govern how the policy proceeds are handled)? If not, is a different distribution acceptable to you?
It is also important to know if participation in high-risk activities (skydiving, bungee jumping, rock climbing, etc.) will void your coverage under the life insurance policy. If this is a concern, you may want to reconsider your participation in such activities.
Second, travel insurance is an important level of protection that you may want to investigate. Because international travel can be more complicated than domestic travel and have more variables out of your control, travel insurance can help prevent additional costs that you could incur in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. It also would have helped hundreds of Southwest passengers that were stranded due to flight cancellations in December 2022!
Lastly, you should check with your health insurance carrier to see if your health insurance plan covers your care in a foreign country. If not, it may be advisable, depending on the duration of your trip, to buy a temporary form of health insurance that will be valid in the country or countries you will be visiting.
A tax professional can help educate you on potential tax liability. When traveling abroad, you will be subject to the taxes of that country. If you are considering making any large purchases, it is especially important that you understand the potential impact. For example, countries that are part of the European Union may add a Value Added Tax on purchased items. However, you may be able to get a refund of this tax from the country you are visiting by completing the necessary paperwork and providing receipts.
In addition, when returning to the United States, it is important to understand whether you will have to pay duties on your purchased items and how much that might cost. These rates could vary depending on the purchase price, where you made the purchase, and the type of item that was purchased.
An estate planning attorney can make sure that your wishes are properly documented. When people think about estate planning, they think about death. While a large part of estate planning does deal with death, proper planning can also benefit you while you are alive. By working with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a financial power of attorney, we can make sure that you have a trusted decision maker in the United States that can manage your financial affairs without court involvement. The world does not stop just because you are on vacation. Should you need something while you are away (e.g., a check deposited, legal documents signed, etc.), your chosen person can step in for you.
We can also ensure that you give the maximum authority to the person you have chosen to care for your minor children while you are away by preparing the appropriate documentation. Short-term or temporary guardianship documents will allow your chosen caregiver to make medical and other important decisions for your child during a specified time period. Should your child need to go to the hospital or have a field trip permission slip signed, the chosen caretaker will be able to step in and keep your child safe, happy, and healthy.
Traveling the world can be an exciting adventure. By assembling a planning team in advance, you can help make sure that you and your loved ones are fully protected while you are having the time of your life. We are here to assist you and any members of your planning team to ensure that your next great adventure is a success.