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Why You Need to Update Your Estate Plan After COVID

On behalf of Sayer Regan & Thayer of Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP posted on Monday, September 12, 2022.

Having an estate plan in place is important at any time, but especially right after a global pandemic. That’s because health crises like the one we just had with COVID can throw a lot of things that you previously thought were settled into turmoil. For instance, otherwise healthy people have been confronted with the potential of severe health problems due to the virus. But in addition to the health threats you may face, the economic downturn that came hand in hand with the pandemic will also impact your future estate plans.

This is why it’s more important than ever, as the world still feels the after-effects of COVID-19, to take another look at your estate planning decisions and make adjustments accordingly. And of course, if you don’t even have an estate plan in place, now is the time to do it so your family can be prepared for what will happen in the event of your death.

You may want to make plans for passing on ownership of your home and other properties, or you may want to outline what should happen to the family business. Perhaps you want to name someone you trust to take custody of your kids. Whatever the case, get in touch with a trusted estate planning attorney to hammer out the details of a more accurate and up-to-date estate plan. They can help you identify areas of concern that you may not have thought of before the health crisis, and create new documents that address those needs.

The pandemic made more and more people really think about their future security and safety, with businesses even more cognizant of getting their affairs in order. Where do you go from here?

Next Steps

Now that everyone has calmed down from the immediate effects of COVID and has had a chance to take in the aftermath, it’s the perfect time to make adjustments to your estate plan now that the dust has settled.

We understand the prospect of estate planning can seem daunting, causing many people to avoid tackling this important project. Here are some next steps to think about as we head into our third autumn under the specter of COVID.

1. Review Your Estate Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic, like any health crisis, can put mortality top of mind. By engaging in a simple estate plan review, you can better identify what you wish to happen to your property and assets after you die. This review will let you know if your feelings have remained the same or if you want to make some adjustments in the light of COVID.

These considerations include:

• Figuring out where your assets will go upon your death
• Estimating estate tax owed upon your death or that of your surviving spouse
• Performing a liquidity analysis to figure out how estate tax would be paid

2. Determine if Your Current Plan Achieves Those Goals

Now that you have reviewed your current plan, it’s time to think about whether it’s still aligned with your goals. Has your health changed? Have family circumstances changed? Have you bought or sold a business? Think about your priorities, what is important to you, what legacy you wish to leave to your family, and what concerns you may have about the overall plan.

3. Update Your Personal Financial Plan

Now that you know where your current estate plan stands, it’s time to determine if that plan is aligned with your goals and what opportunities, if any, you can identify. This involves updating your personal financial plan that will outline your exit strategy and cash flow needs. Work with your attorney to come up with an estate and gifting plan that considers:

• Personal cash flow needs
• Family dynamics
• Efficiencies in estate, gift and income taxes
• Exit strategy
• Wealth preservation strategy

4. Implement the Plan

Now that all your ducks are in a row and you know what you want to include in your updated plan, it’s time to put it into motion. At this time, your estate planning lawyer can:

• Draft the documents
• Obtain the valuations
• File the proper tax returns

The uncertainty that has arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout has carved out an opportunity for people to make some big changes in their estate plan. Now is the time to act. But in your haste, you could make critical mistakes that could cost you and your surviving family members dearly.

Get insight and analysis of your current estate plan by partnering with an experienced estate planning attorney who can ensure everything possible will be done to protect your assets.

Contact Sayer, Regan & Thayer LLP for Estate Planning in Rhode Island

It costs you nothing to call us for a free, no-obligation consultation at 866-378-5836. Our estate planning attorneys will review your current plan and help you update it to best preserve your assets in the aftermath of COVID-19.

These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

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