Legal Documents for Travel

Plan Ahead

We planned a trip to Vietnam over one year ago and are now on our way.  While we are very excited, there also is a lot of curiosity about what we will experience when we arrive.  Never having flown on such a long flight, I’m hoping that sleep comes easily and quickly enabling me to adjust to the new time zone. Our first stop is Ho Chi Minh City.


As we prepared for our trip, it quickly became apparent our lives here at home do not really stop even though we may not be here.  Decisions may need to be made and bills may need to be paid.  In an effort to prepare properly, my husband and I each signed new Durable Powers of Attorney naming our son as Agent and authorizing him to transact business on our behalf.  What may he need to do for us while we are traveling?

Home repairs often require a signed contract. If there is a storm and our home experiences damage, the Power of Attorney authorization will allow our son to sign contracts on our behalf and authorize necessary repairs, as well as gain access to our bank account to make any required payments.  Any financial, contractual, business decision can be made on our behalf by our Agent.  This avoids any vendors or issues having to wait until we return home to be hired and/or paid.

A quick review of our Last Wills found everything in order in the event an unforeseen death would occur while traveling.  Beneficiary designations are all up to date.

Gathering our financial information and our user names and passwords and placing in a specific location our Agent can access if needed took a significant amount of preparation.  This still is not quite as organized as I would like – but I’m getting closer.  I have created a shared Dropbox folder enabling all participants I invite to have access to the information I want them to have.  I also loaded our travel documents and itinerary for the entire family to see.

A Skype account was set up to ensure Wi-Fi communication could be used where available since, AT&T stated they do not provide service in Vietnam. Our goal will be to take a true break from electronics with limited time spent on email.  However, with a very pregnant daughter-in-law and a one-year-old granddaughter I will not be able to go off the grid – as they say!

The exercise of getting your “stuff” organized and being prepared for what you hope doesn’t happen is good to experience from time to time.  It avoids the “if only I would have completed my legal documents” and allows you to state your wishes and desires and makes you determine who is best to manage your affairs for you, short or long term.

I can enjoy my trip knowing I am prepared. The bonus will be not having to use any of the information I so painstakingly organized, which will indicate a very safe and fun trip!