July 8, 2020
Since the onset of the pandemic we have received numerous calls from clients asking us to review their documents to make sure that their estate planning is in order. While no situation is alike, many of the inquiries have centered around similar themes:
- Do you have my original Will?
- Can you remind me whom I’ve named as my executor, trustee and/or guardian of my minor children?
- What happens to my estate if something happens to both my spouse and me?
- Whom did I name as my health care proxy in case I can’t make health care decisions for myself?
- Whom did I designate as my power of attorney in the event that I can no longer handle my financial affairs?
- What, if anything, should I be doing to take advantage of my increased gift tax exemption amount?
- Are my assets properly titled to ensure that my intentions are carried out?
- Does the recent passage of the SECURE Act (involving retirement accounts) impact my planning and what steps do I need to take to make sure everything is in order?
- Given the nature of my business and the current pandemic, I have heightened asset protection concerns and am wondering if there is anything further I should be doing to enhance my asset protection?
Our first step is to update your personal information by asking questions like:
- Has there been a change in your marital status or that of your children or any named beneficiary?
- Has there been an addition to your family through birth, adoption or marriage?
- Have any family members died or become severely ill or incapacitated?
- Have you received or do you expect to receive a significant gift or inheritance?
- Have you made any substantial gifts or charitable donations?
- Have you become involved in any new business ventures or purchased a substantial interest in an existing business?
- Have your financial circumstances changed significantly, for the better, hopefully, but also for the worse?
- Have you moved and/or do you have any plans to relocate?
- Have any of your objectives (tax or non-tax) changed since we last spoke?
The dialogue that ensues as a result of the questions asked often serves to put the client’s mind at ease and enables the attorney to ensure that the client’s current needs and objectives are met. We would encourage those of you who have questions to reach out to us so that we can help ensure that all of your current estate planning goals are met.