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Estate Planning During COVID-19

The complex rules and regulations can make estate planning seem like a daunting task. Add to that the disruption of a global pandemic and it can feel impossible. However, the economic ramifications of COVID-19 mean that now may be the perfect time to start the process of estate planning. 

The current situation

Due to social distancing measures and many offices still being closed, it’s now extremely difficult to get documents witnessed and notarized. Because of this, several Governors have signed emergency orders allowing both witnessing and notarization through video conferencing.

This means that wills and codicils, trusts, and powers of attorney can all go ahead without being delayed by COVID-19. 

Creating an Estate Plan During COVID-19

Although having to work over video conferences may be less than ideal, there are several benefits of estate planning during COVID-19

Interest rates are currently low and are continuing to decline. In fact, the rate for valuing an annuity was at an all-time low in May at 0.80%. This market volatility is the perfect opportunity to consider going ahead with any of the following: 

  • Transferring wealth to family members or other beneficiaries
  • Giving loans to children, beneficiaries, trusts
  • Selling assets to a grantor trust for a note
  • Establishing GRATs

Essential Estate Planning Documents

Here are some of the key estate planning documents you may want to consider reviewing during the current pandemic:

Wills and revocable trusts

Is your will up to date and in line with your current wishes? Do you need to consider reducing legacies in light of the current market volatility?

If you haven’t updated your will or reviewed revocable trusts in the past five years, now is a good time to make adjustments if needed. 

Beneficiary designations

Does the named beneficiary or secondary beneficiary on wills, IRAs, 401(k)s, etc. need to be updated or reviewed?

Life insurance policies

Now is a good time to review any life insurance policies and consider transferring them to a life insurance trust. This removes the proceeds of the policy from your estate for estate tax purposes. This transfer can be done through a sale or gift. 

Living will and power of attorney

In the face of a global pandemic, it’s important to have all documents on living wills and powers of attorney up to date where relevant. 

Need Expert Advice on Estate Planning?

If you’re interested in estate planning but are unsure how to proceed because of COVID-19, get in touch today. Our team of experts is available to give you professional advice and help you get your plans in order. 

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