Estate Planning Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
Coronavirus has upended the daily lives of billions of people across the world. It has never been more important to plan for the unexpected because nobody really knows what tomorrow will bring. If something were to happen to you, how would your family members get by without you?
An estate plan can help ensure that your loved ones are protected. A 2017 study from Caring.com found that only 4 in every 10 Americans has a will or living trust. If you die without an estate plan, the courts will be forced to determine what happens to your assets and who will take care of your young children. This is often a lengthy and expensive process, so it pays to get started on estate planning as soon as possible. But how do you go about it amid the coronavirus pandemic?
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney
With lockdowns and social distancing, you might be wondering where to start with obtaining the estate documents you need. The best place is with an estate planning lawyer. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we are taking all of the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of each of our staff members and clients.
We also offer multiple ways for you to talk to a lawyer, such as video or phone conferencing. Many of our services can be executed remotely without you ever needing to come to the office. But when you do need to visit us, you can rest assured that our office is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized throughout the day, and we adhere to all social distancing protocols recommended by the state of California and the federal government.
Why Develop an Estate Plan During COVID?
Estate planning during covid is all about preparing for the future. The coronavirus has proven that the future is not certain for anyone. It has raised feelings of uncertainty, loss of control, and fear among many, but we can help you be proactive and gain some peace of mind. Regardless of your age or health status, estate planning will help protect your assets and make sure your family is taken care of when you no longer can.
With a strong estate plan in place, you will be able to:
- Select Beneficiaries
You may think that estate planning is just for the wealthy. This is a common misconception, but the truth is that everyone should have an estate plan. Even if the only property you own is your home, you want to make sure the right individual receives it when you pass away. If you have multiple assets, it’s even more crucial to create an estate plan, or you’ll risk the state having the final say on who has legal rights over your property.
- Protect Young Children
If you are a parent, you want to be certain that your children will be cared for by the right person. While nobody likes to think about dying young, it’s in your children’s best interest for you to be prepared for anything, especially now. In the unlikely event that both you and your spouse pass away, if you don’t have a will, the court will have to step in to determine a guardian, and this person may not be who you would have wanted. Drawing up a will allows you to designate a guardian you trust to raise your children.
- Minimize Taxes
When estate planning, you should also consider how federal, state, and inheritance taxes might affect the value of your assets. Your loved ones will have to take care of these upon your death. An experienced attorney can help you transfer assets to heirs with the goal of minimizing your tax burden.
- Eliminate Family Feuds
Estate planning can help stop disagreements between family members who may think they deserve more of your assets than others. When you have a will or trust prepared, however, assets will be divided in the manner that you have outlined in your documents, so there’s little room for loved ones to argue.
What Should Be Included in an Estate Plan?
When drafting an estate plan, you must consider what will happen in the event you die or become temporarily or permanently disabled. You should also name a guardian for any minor children and detail your wishes regarding life-extending medical treatment. A comprehensive estate plan may include:
- Last Will and Testament
- A living will
- A living trust
- Beneficiary designations
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Financial power of attorney
- Guardianship designations
- Letter of intent
There is more to estate planning than just deciding how to divide up assets when you die. The top priority is ensuring your family members and beneficiaries are provided for and that they have access to your assets when you die or are incapacitated.
Tips for Estate Planning During Covid
Once your estate planning documents are finalized, you have to ensure that they are kept safe and accessible to the right people. For this to happen, you need to do the following:
- Retain the original documents of your estate plan as well as important financial and legal paperwork in a secure place, like a safety deposit box, for your estate administrator. Remember to label all the documents clearly.
- Provide high-quality copies to your financial adviser, successor agents, and family members you want to be aware of your plans.
- Compile a list of your digital accounts and passwords to make managing your financial accounts easier.
Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
If you don’t already have an estate plan, the time is now. Having a solid estate plan will give you the peace of mind you need during this uncertain time. The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones is committed to offering the best services in estate planning. Our experienced estate planning attorney in Bakersfield will guide you through the process and ensure that nothing is left unaccounted for. Contact us today to find out more about our approach in estate planning during the coronavirus pandemic.