There is a misconception that an estate planning strategy is something the wealthy do later…
In these uncertain times, it may feel harder than ever to plan for the future. After all, in the space of a few short months any semblance of predictability has been lost and a litany of reasons for worry have taken hold. The Covid-19 pandemic and its associated consequences provoke a fear that for many is paralyzing. However hard this may be to overcome, experts insist that proactive behavior can have a profound positive impact on mental health.
Besides the immediate threat of debilitating illness, devastating economic impact is one of the greatest dangers presented by the novel coronavirus. Already, the U.S. and the world at large are feeling the effect. Beyond taking stock of your finances, building a budget, and re-evaluating your income outlook, now is also the time to institute an estate plan that will protect your assets in the present and for posterity. Here’s why:
As upsetting as it may be, the simple truth is that Covid-19 presents a mortal danger, especially to those of advanced age. While the odds are on your side—the oldest living person is Spain survived the virus, after all—this is no reason to delay instituting protections for your life’s work. An estate plan ensures that hard-earned assets are not gobbled up by probate and creditors but instead stay in the hands of your loved ones.
Creditors are as ruthless as the virus.
Washing your hands and practicing social distancing, among other measures, greatly increase your odds of avoiding infection but do nothing to protect you or your loved ones from economic devastation. Businesses are facing bankruptcy at unprecedented rates. Should a beneficiary come into an inheritance at the same time as creditors come for their business, they stand to lose not only a loved one but the legacy this person has left, as well. A testamentary trust or similar estate planning vehicle protects against such an injustice.
Preparedness provides peace of mind.
For many, the anxiety provoked by the present is as dangerous as the virus, itself. Most who contract Covid-19 will survive but many will face lasting health consequences. Stress likewise wreaks havoc on long-term well-being. Reduce your stress by taking solace in knowing you have prepared as best as possible.
You are not in this alone.
Steps you take to protect your assets may relieve loved ones’ anxiety as much as your own. What’s more, exerting what control you do have in this uncertain time, can provide mental health benefits. A family meeting aimed at explaining your decisions is an essential step in establishing an estate plan. Now, more than ever, such a meeting may help bring peace of mind to all involved.
Opportunity exists among the chaos.
With interest rates down and enormous discounts for minority shares in limited liability corporations (LLCs) predicted, now is an opportune time to revise your asset distribution. Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) designed to pass asset appreciation on to beneficiaries have rarely been more appealing and interest rates on intrafamily loans are exceptionally low. No one would say that these are good times but that doesn’t mean all is bad. An experienced estate attorney can help you take advantage of these fleeting opportunities.
For many, estate planning is an intimidating proposition. At a moment that is already overwhelming, taking proactive steps to protect your assets may look like it demands more energy than you have. As an office dedicated to elder care, estate planning, business, and tax matters, we not only endeavor to design exceptional asset management plans, we aim to make doing so easy. Now is a time to nurture peace of mind and we’re here to help in any way we can. When you’re ready to schedule your complimentary “Get to Know You” meeting, reach out to Pam in our office!
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm
Contact us for more information on how to get started planning your estate. We’ll explain the entire process and give you a checklist of things to do before meeting with an estate planning attorney in order to save time, money and aggravation.