We continue to wish you and your family safety and good health and hope that worldwide events unleashed by the pandemic we are experiencing does not keep you separated from your loved ones for too long. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Limit your contact with other people and maintain cleanliness and good hygiene to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
We continue to discuss items you should review in your current estate plan to take into consideration the volatility of the financial markets and to compensate for financial losses your retirement plans may have experienced because of the losses. Ask your estate planning attorneys to help you consider the following changes to your estate plan.
- Refinance intra-family loans to take advantage of lower interest rates.
- Use swap powers in grantor trusts to trade low basis assets owned by irrevocable trusts with high basis assets owned individually. By doing this you bring assets back into your estate which receive a stepped-up basis on your death. This will eliminate capital gains tax on the sale of such assets after your death.
- Also use swap powers to trade assets whose values are expected to fall for cash or other non-depreciating assets. This will protect and freeze the value of assets excluded from your estate.
Take a look at your beneficiary designations. Are they up to date? Are your trustees and executors still able to help carry out your wishes when you pass? Do your advisors understand your medical wishes, especially with the use of respirators, since treatment for COVID-19 involves assistance breathing with a respirator? Can you afford some of the long-term health care choices you made when your retirement portfolio was more robust?
Increasingly more and more businesses are being asked to close temporarily and either cease operations or move them home. Make sure your business succession plan is updated as well especially if it relies on people that are ill or pass before you do.
Even if you do not have an estate plan in place. Now is the time to get your affairs in order. You need to have a will, a health care proxy, and a power of attorney. You must share with your family and advisors the existence and location of these legal documents, so they know where to look in the event of your incapacitation or death. If you have any adult children or close family relatives, encourage them to establish a health care proxy and power of attorney for themselves.
Do not delay reviewing or establishing the necessary documents for a successful estate plan. Contact your estate planning lawyer today to review your estate plan and make any modifications that can minimize the tax your estate will owe when you die.