A lot of people believe that estate planning is just about figuring out who is going to get your assets when you pass away, but it’s so much more than that.  A properly built estate plan will also include things like who will help take over should you become ill or disabled and when you can no longer make decisions about either your health or financial decisions.  This is what is known as an Advance Healthcare Directive.  For minor children under the age of 18 years old, by default the parent or guardian is responsible and able to make these important medical decisions should something happen.  However, for anyone age 18 and over, they become independent from their parents and need to name someone to be in charge of this should something happen to them (or when they get married, medical decisions are usually legally given to the spouse, unless stated otherwise in an Advance Healthcare Directive).

This happens all too often.  People travel abroad and they don’t have either the right legal documents in place or accessible to them.

My Trip to Europe in the Summer of 1998

Shortly after graduating from law school, I went on my first and only trip to Europe with a large group of about 40 people.  We traveled to ten countries, which started in Portugal and Spain on my own, and then England, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and ended in France.  

While on my own in Madrid, Spain, I grabbed a sandwich for lunch.  By the early evening, I started to not feel well and I had to go back to my hotel.  It became very apparent that I some kind of food poisoning from perhaps the eggs in my sandwich. The next day, I had intended to explore the city of Madrid some more, but I was so sick that I just stayed in bed all day until about 5pm. The entire day was lost!  Thankfully, I started to feel better and was able to travel to London and meet up with the group I was going to be traveling with and continue on with the rest of my trip.

Getting sick was certainly not my idea of how I wanted to start off this “fun” summer vacation.  I am grateful it was just a 24-hour food poisoning bug and that it didn’t ruin the remainder of my trip.  It was definitely a lesson that you never know what could happen to you, regardless of age or health.  At that time, I did not have my estate planning done or the right legal documents in place to help me if I needed any medical care while in another country.


This is why we do what we do here at the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis.  We help you put the right legal documents in place so that you can have the peace of mind that if or when something happens to you, all is taken care of.  This allows you and your loved ones to focus on living, rather than having to worry about the unexpected.  If you have not completed your estate planning, there is no better time than right now.  And if you have, but you have not reviewed your plan in over three years, it’s highly recommended that you take the time to come in for a free review and make sure that everything is up-to-date with the laws and your wishes.  Attend one of our free webinars or contact our office at 1-800-756-5596 for more information and to schedule a consultation.

P.S.  Speaking of traveling, I will be leaving in a couple of weeks to go on my annual trip down to MLB Spring Training in Florida.  I am looking forward to sharing more about my adventures in next month’s newsletter.  Stay tuned!

Peter A. Keon
With a Masters in Tax Law, Peter has helped clients with estate planning, probate and trust law since 2003.
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Roger Schrunk 03/01/2021 06:19 PM
Great article
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