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Just because states and businesses are opening their doors doesn’t mean the Coronavirus has gone away. While things may start to return to normal, the impact of COVID-19 is going to remain. One of the biggest trends that come from a worldwide pandemic is the number of calls to Orange County estate planning attorneys. People are starting to consider their own morality and what happens next. 

And while it’s never fun to think about your own death, there is no better time than the present to consider setting up a meeting with your Orange County estate planning lawyer. Whether you’re starting from scratch or just making a few updates, now is the perfect time to get the ball rolling. 

What is an Estate Plan?

Your estate typically consists of your home, car, checking and saving accounts, investments, life insurance, antiques, furniture, real estate, and other personal possessions. That means it’s not just the rich and famous who should consider an estate plan. 

An estate plan is made up of legal documents that help plan for your end-of-life care and how your assets are distributed after you die. A good estate plan makes it more likely that your wishes are carried out. Not having an estate plan means your family and friends may have to hire an Orange County probate lawyer to help settle your affairs in probate court. Ultimately, a judge will decide how your assets are distributed. 

A good estate plan will typically include the following:

People often assume they don’t own enough to justify creating an estate plan. Younger people tend to think they don’t need to worry about meeting with an Orange County living trust lawyer until they are older. Some people simply don’t want to think about their own deaths and avoid the topic altogether. 

But as we’ve seen over the past weeks, there are no guarantees in life. COVID-19 seemingly came out of nowhere and spread like wildfire. While no one should live as if death is waiting around the corner, they should have a proper plan to help with any unforeseen events. 

7 Reasons to Create or Update Your Estate Plan

While there are endless reasons why you need an estate plan and why you should work with an estate planning attorney in Orange County, here are the top seven things to take into consideration:

1. The Future is Coming

Global events like the coronavirus pandemic serve as eye-openers. Seemingly healthy people found themselves incapacitated on ventilators, while others simply do not survive. General concern about the future is certainly a compelling reason to consider an estate plan. While you might not be able to control every element of the future, you can influence how prepared you are for the unexpected. 

2. The SECURE ACT

It may seem like eons ago, but the SECURE Act was just passed on December 20, 2019, and might impact your current estate plan. This act makes it easier for small business owners to create less expensive retirement plans and allows 401(k) plans to offer annuities. 

The SECURE Act also pushes back when retirement plan participants need to take the required minimum distributions from 70.5 to 72 while allowing indefinite contributions to traditional IRAs. Even if the exact impacts of the SECURE Act aren’t clear, there are enough changes to justify meeting with your estate planning lawyer in Orange County. 

3. No One Likes Taxes

Depending on the value of your estate, your loved ones may lose a portion of their inheritance due to estate taxes. These taxes are typically a higher rate than you’d expect and come with complex rules and applications. An Orange County living trust lawyer can help you create trusts and provide other options to help avoid taxes on your assets. 

 4. Stay Current

Even if you have an estate plan in place - is it up-to-date? An estate plan made in the past may not be relevant today. You may have different opinions on who should inherit what. You may also find that you’re not as close to people you named as the power of attorneys or executors. Your estate also changes over time, so your estate plan should reflect those changes.  

5. Keeping Track of Your Health

Pandemics like COVID-19 force people to consider their own health and health care. With numerous people going on ventilators or other medical equipment, it might be time to decide what kind of care you expect, want, and don’t want. You can include this information in a living will or appoint someone to be your healthcare power of attorney. A living trust attorney in Orange County can help you understand all of your options. 

6. Spring Cleaning

Some people have an estate plan, but it’s confusing or contradicts itself. It’s easy for wills or other relevant documents to get misplaced. Sometimes people forget to update their life insurance beneficiaries after a divorce. Any number of things can happen over the years that can hurt the estate plan’s purpose. It’s worth taking some time to get everything organized, review your plan, and make the necessary updates and changes. 

7. You Have the Free Time

With social distancing and shelter-in-place orders still in place, it’s likely that you have a little extra time. Without having many options once you leave the house, it’s worth focusing on something you might otherwise put off. There is no better time than the present to make plans for your future. 

Meet with an Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Today

Without a proper estate plan, your family will be left in a lurch when it comes to what happens to your estate when you die. A probate judge might make decisions based on strict local laws that contradict what you actually want. To ensure that you can continue on with peace of mind, and your family will be well taken care of after your death, set up a free consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Orange County. Creating or updating your estate plan has never been easier!

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Estate Planning Attorney in Orange County, CA
Wills & Trusts, Estate & Trust Administration, Probate, and Health Care Power of Attorney
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