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How to Handle Special Needs Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The timing has never been better. As the author notes, for those of you who are in a position to be generous with your assets, there are many creative ways to participate in giving back.

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world and turned many lives upside down. Certainty has been replaced by uncertainty, and many plans for the future are in doubt. One may feel a loss of control and helplessness as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on finances, relationships, employment, and just about anything else imaginable.

Although certain issues are outside our control, we should all feel confident realizing that we still have powerful things within our grip, such as getting our estate plan in order.

Estate planning attorney North Palm Beach provides tips for getting your estate plan in tip-top condition:

What exactly is the plan?

The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether a strategy or plan is in place; if so, does it depict your current needs and desires?

A will is a crucial element of every estate plan. In the absence of a valid will, legislation determines who receives your property and in what shares after you die.

Although a will is a vital tool for ensuring that your wishes are respected, there are alternatives to wills, including putting assets into joint names so that they pass outside of your estate automatically after you pass.

Likewise, life insurance, trusts and foundation firms are important resources that will allow you to execute more comprehensive estate strategies so that you can feel assured that your loved ones will gain profit just as you desire.

Whatever your plan is, have a look at it. If there is no strategy, there is no time to bring something in the present position. Illnesses, whether caused by COVID-19 or otherwise, may often affect your mental abilities, and could discourage you from making the appropriate measures to place your affairs in order such that it’s better not to delay.

In reality, how much are your assets worth?

Global personal capital has seen a global decline throughout the spectrum. As a consequence, the valuation of estates is expected to fall.

It is also a good thing to review your will and see whether certain gifts to loved ones are still in need of adjustment, as gifts that were of great importance just a few months earlier could be less important now.

This is necessary to maintain a sense of balance and justice with loved ones, and to stave off any property claims by those who claim they have not been handled equally, which is one of the main triggers of lawsuits over estates.

Rubber-banded rolls of hundred-dollar bills; image by Pictures of Money, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

Although no one has magic, global markets are more likely to change over time and ‘paper losses’ may recover. However, until this happens, those who seek to spread their wealth fairly among their loved ones should look at their current net wealth carefully and adjust their plans accordingly.

Those who do not yet have a succession plan should bear this in mind when creating their plan for the estate.

Who are you?

This might sound like a strange question to ask, but it’s necessary to consider what sort of relations you might have with other countries because that could impact taxes payable and claims on your assets.

For example, the United States assigns citizenship to any person born on its soil, and since it also taxes its citizens regardless of where they reside, it is very important that your estate attorney considers this point and works in tandem with a U.S. estate attorney to ensure that your estate is as tax-efficient as possible and that all necessary IRS forms are filed.

Moreover, many countries like the United States are seeking to tax individuals if they spend a certain number of days inside the country. Therefore, if they happen to be stranded in the U.S. due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, it is possible for a non-U.S. taxpayer to inadvertently fall into the U.S. tax net through no fault of his own.

If these individuals die when taking residency in a foreign country, this may have a knock-on impact on properties. If these individuals are interested, they will meet with a local tax specialist and pursue some legal steps as early as possible to reduce the tax payable, and change their succession plan appropriately if appropriate.

Be kind and be generous

For those fortunate enough to have preserved their money during this turmoil, there is a tremendous chance to create a positive difference by offering a donation to good causes for those most impacted by COVID-19.

A charitable legacy is one of the noblest acts that a person may produce, and the world requires these selfless actions at this moment to stay confident and positive in these most difficult times.

Matters of the estate, probate, and tax require a lot of emotions. Estate planning attorney West Palm Beach finds it a blessing to represent clients in these places, and provide our clients and their families’ sincere treatment and assistance. We always take pride in our helpful staff and loving environment.

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