Is 2020 the year of “pandemic estate planning”?

Pandemic Estate Planning
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What is “pandemic estate planning”?

It is our phone ringing and online requests for consultations about creating or updating estate plans or just clients want to engage in pandemic estate planning generally.

The current pandemic has led many of us focus on weighty existential matters of life, disability, and death.

Indeed, after reviewing our assets and liabilities, many of us have discovered that we are worth more dead than alive (a tip of the hat to George Bailey there)!

According to a Federal News Network article entitled “It’s your estate, but who gets it?,” a lack of control is one of the frustrating things about this already terrifying pandemic.

Pandemic estate planning can cause us to ask existential questions of life, death, and eternity.
Pandemic estate planning is a reflection of who we are at our very core. Who and what do you love?

Are you (getting) tired of this COVID-19 like I am?

We can wear masks, keep our physical/social distance, avoid crowds, stay away from intimate family gatherings, but then what?

There are some very important and valuable things that are still under your control.

You guessed it.

One of these is pandemic estate planning.

Any number of things could have occurred in 2020 that are off your radar because you are still adjusting to the many changes the pandemic has brought to our everyday lives.

In fact, it seems there are vertiginous possibilities of referential aberration!

Many people see their pandemic estate planning as one of life’s necessary chores.

Once the legal documents are signed, then these folks simply file them away and forget about them.

However, an estate plan, and especially a pandemic estate plan, should be reviewed regularly to be certain that it continues to stay current with any changes in the law, your personal situation, and family dynamics.

Here are just a few of the life events that make it essential for you to review and possibly revise your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney at least every two years:

  • The birth or adoption of a child;
  • You are contemplating divorce;
  • You have recently divorced;
  • Your child gets married;
  • Your child develops substance abuse problems or has issues with managing finances;
  • Those you have designated to serve in key roles in your estate plan (e.g., as executor, trustee, or agents) have died, moved away, or are no longer able to fulfill these obligations;
  • The guardians (i.e., back up parents) nominate for your minor child have divorced, or died;
  • Your minor child reach the age of majority;
  • Your adult child is facing financial challenges;
  • There has been a change in the law that impacts your estate plan;
  • You get a sizeable inheritance or other windfall;
  • You have an “estate plan,” but cannot locate it;
  • You acquire property; or
  • You move to another state.

If any of these events occur, contact your estate planning lawyer without delay to revise your estate plan.

Panic should never be the driving force behind your pandemic estate planning.

Reference: Federal News Network (Nov. 4, 2020) “It’s your estate, but who gets it?”

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