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Estate Planning Considerations Related to COVID-19

West Palm Beach Attorneys Helping People with Wills, Trusts, and Related Matters

COVID-19 has affected all aspects of society, and people of all ages and income brackets are at risk of becoming ill and potentially dying due to the coronavirus. When confronted with the frightening prospect of losing their lives, many people are inspired to ensure that they have proper estate planning documents in place to effectuate their wishes if they pass away. If you need assistance with estate planning considerations related to COVID-19, it is prudent to speak to an attorney regarding your options for protecting your assets. The capable West Palm Beach estate planning lawyers at The Law Office of Jessica Mishali, P.A. can advise you on the measures that you can take to achieve your goals and assist you in getting your affairs in order. We help people with their estate planning needs throughout South Florida.

Reviewing Existing Estate Planning Documents

It is prudent for anyone who previously drafted estate planning documents, such as wills, living wills, and durable powers of attorney, to review the documents to ensure that they remain appropriate to meet their needs. An outdated will may not provide for all of the appropriate beneficiaries, or it may not include directives regarding the custody or care of minor children. Additionally, someone may have experienced a significant change in assets since their will was drafted, and a will may no longer encompass the entirety of a person’s estate, which can complicate matters should the person pass away.

Drafting Essential Estate Planning Documents

Under Florida law, anyone over the age of 18 who is of sound mind and body can draft a will, living will, or durable power of attorney. Wills allow people to delineate how their estates will be distributed and can contain provisions regarding the custody or care of minor children. Living wills set forth directives regarding which life-sustaining measures people wish to receive in the event that they become gravely ill, while a durable power of attorney grants another individual the right to make these decisions. Certain estate planning documents must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, which may present challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Estate Planning Considerations Related to COVID-19, Trusts, and Taxes

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a national decrease in the value of stocks, property, and other assets. While diminished estates are cause for concern, certain people may be able to use a decrease in the valuation of assets to their advantage. For example, many people who recently suffered the loss of a loved one may benefit from selecting an alternate valuation date, as permitted under the Internal Revenue Code. Specifically, the Code allows people to select a date within six months of a person’s death as the date when the fair market value of the person’s estate will be determined. If a person who passed away had significant assets, a reduction in the value of the assets could significantly reduce the estate tax imposed.

Similarly, many people with significant assets may consider creating a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust while the value of their assets is diminished. Generally, a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust allows people to transfer high-yield assets into an irrevocable trust while retaining the right to receive interest from the trust for a term of years, after which the remainder of the trust will be distributed to the trust beneficiaries. If the value of the assets in the trust increases, any appreciation in the assets over the return rate set by the IRS will be tax-free. Since the rate is currently historically low, grantors may be able to pass substantial assets to their beneficiaries.

Consult a Skillful Estate Planning Lawyer in West Palm Beach or Beyond

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred many people to consider whether they have the proper estate planning documents to protect their assets and beneficiaries in the event of their death. If you have questions regarding estate planning considerations related to COVID-19, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney. At The Law Office of Jessica Mishali, P.A., we assist people with estate planning matters in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Hallandale Beach, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Palm City, Jensen Beach, and other communities in Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin Counties. You can contact us at (888) 808-2772 or through the form online to set up a consultation.

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I hired Jessica Mishali to represent me. She did a phenomenal job for me. She is very talented and creative and goes above and beyond for me and I'm very confident she will do for all her future clients. She delivers results!! - Miriam