Cona Elder Law


On-the-Ball Older Adults: How to Travel Smart This Summer


By Jennifer Cona, Esq. Originally published in the July 2024 issue of the Long Island Press, Power of Your Attorney.

The economy is strong, inflation currently held at bay, and gas prices holding steady. No wonder summer travel has kicked off in resounding numbers. So how do on-the-ball older adults travel smart and what can we learn from them? Their advice: before you make your travel plans and pack your suitcase, be sure your Advance Directives are in place, your estate plan is complete, and all documents reflect your current wishes. 

People of all ages should have Advance Directives, namely, a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will. A Power of Attorney is a legal document wherein you name an agent(s) to handle your financial affairs, such as banking, real estate transactions, asset protection planning, and more should you become unable to do so yourself. 

A Health Care Proxy is a document wherein you designate someone to make medical decisions and communicate with medical providers on your behalf should you be unable to do so.  Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Health Care Proxy. For example, did you know that when your child goes to college, if there is a health care emergency, you will not be able to get any information or speak to medical providers unless you are your child’s Health Care Agent? 

A Living Will is a document wherein you state your wishes regarding end-of-life care, such as artificial nutrition and hydration, pain management, and administration of CPR. By stating your wishes in this document, your loved ones do not need to make these extremely difficult decisions. Instead, they must honor your wishes.

Estate planning, including drafting a Will and Trust(s), is critical at every age but it is also important not to “set it and forget it.” Your estate plan should be reviewed every 5 years, sooner if you retire or are contemplating retirement, if there are changes in your or your spouse/partner’s health, if there are changes to your family composition, such as deaths, births, divorces, or significant changes to asset levels (other than typical market fluctuations). And keep in mind that one size does not fit all; there are many case-specific issues that affect estate and asset protection planning.  Only an experienced Elder Law attorney can properly analyze each situation and make the best recommendations.

It is also very important that you communicate your wishes with loved ones. Take the time to share your thoughts and feelings with your loved ones so they are comfortable with your choices now and do not learn of them in crisis mode at the side of a hospital bed.

And finally, be sure your legal documents are kept in a safe place that you and your authorized loved ones can access. Cona Elder Law offers a virtual document vault so you can securely store your important estate planning documents for online access anywhere at any time. You and whomever you authorize will be able to access your important legal documents wherever and whenever they are needed.

Jennifer B. Cona, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cona Elder Law, an award-winning law firm concentrating in the areas of elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, estate administration and litigation, and health care law. The firm has been ranked the #1 Elder Law Firm by Long Island Business News for eight consecutive years. 

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