When a global pandemic arises, it can raise many “what if” questions. As the death count rises and more cases are confirmed, it’s reasonable to start reflecting on undesirable situations. Mix social isolation with an aggressive virus and many people find themselves reaching out to their Orange County estate planning attorneys to take care of updating their estate plans.
There is no better time than the present to ensure that your final wishes are in order. Here are some things you should consider when creating an estate plan during COVID-19:
In the past, creating an estate plan would involve meetings with your attorney in his or her office. With social distancing rules in place, many Orange County estate planning lawyers are working remotely. Even as states start to slowly open back up for regular business, many attorneys may continue to meet remotely.
You can still meet with your attorney; it just might look a little different than you’d expect. Phone calls and emails are still powerful tools for attorneys and their clients. Video conferencing is gaining in popularity and ease. In many cases, attorneys visit clients at their homes. You should have no trouble still holding meetings with your attorney, even if it means doing so from different locations.
You probably have a little more time now to think through your estate than you may have had before. There are plenty of issues you’ve probably considered and put on hold that can be explored in more detail now. Your attorney is going to want you to work through some of these things between meetings. You can even save some time by having an idea of what you want before your initial consultation.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
Your estate planning lawyer will have more questions to help provide you with the best options, but having a general idea of what you have and what should happen to it is a great start.
While documents can be sent back and forth electronically, many estate planning documents require legal signatures or witnesses to be valid. With social distancing orders in place, it may be challenging to accomplish this task. Luckily, there are some options that could work in your situation.
Estate tax isn’t necessarily something everyone has to worry about. Currently, only large estates are subject to federal estate tax. A married couple wouldn’t have to worry about an estate tax unless the estate exceeds $23.16 million in value. (In 2020)
If you have a large estate, COVID-19 has impacted options for reducing your tax liability. One option might be to give away assets that have declined in value. Another option would be to give away the future appreciation of an asset without giving up the asset itself. Your Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer will help you determine the best options for your unique situation.
If you’re not subject to estate tax, you wouldn’t necessarily want to give away parts or all of your assets without a good reason. Your attorney may even suggest creating a trust to help avoid taxes on your assets after your death.
With shelter-in-place and social distancing orders in place, day-to-day life can get lonely. In some cases, you aren’t able to visit with others due to the potential risk of getting or spreading the virus. Even if you feel isolated, know that you’re not alone.
Working with an Orange County estate planning attorney means you have someone on your side. Your attorney can help you create the right plan for your needs, working to ensure that your final wishes are met and that your financial legacy lives on. In other cases, your attorney will help make the most of your estate to help cover expenses related to hospitalization, medicines, in-home help, therapy, and more.
More importantly, your estate planning attorney will know how to navigate and make the best use of state and federal assistance programs.
If you have been thinking about creating an estate plan or simply want to make sure your current policy is updated, contact today. We help our clients create personalized estate plans in California. Even with COVID-19 lurking around, we’re here to help give you peace of mind.