This is a must for buying additional medical insurance, for ensuring that you do not forfeit your Canadian health insurance by being gone too long and for ensuring that the length of your trip is not any longer than the allotted time you may stay in the U.S. without becoming a U.S. resident for tax purposes.
• Check your current Canadian health care coverage and make sure that you are well covered while you are gone.
Consider buying additional insurance, especially when traveling to the U.S. as a precaution and for peace-of-mind.
• Ensure that all of your legal documents such as your will, power of attorney/letter of direction, etc. are in order.
• Go to your bank and ensure all your funds and banking needs are in order.
• Make sure that all of your bills such as telephone, utilities etc., will be paid by automatic withdrawal in your absence.
• Make arrangements for someone to collect your mail or forward your mail to your U.S. address.
• Check with your cell phone provider regarding your plan to ensure it covers international roaming.
If not, add the necessary features to your plan to avoid a “surprise” phone bill which can be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Or purchase a pre-paid phone for U.S. use only.
• Place a hold on your newspaper subscription or cancel it until your return.
• Check your home to ensure that it can be totally secured in your absence.
Check your alarm system. Consider having a few lights come on automatically each night.
• Do not post on Facebook or other social media that you are leaving for an extended period of time.
However, do let some trusted neighbours know that you will be gone so they can keep an eye on your home or condo.
• Finally, pack your bags and carry your passport and all important cards such as your banking and health insurance cards on your person.
Dan Walkow is the lead portfolio manager for Seabank Capital Management Inc. in the Lower Mainland.