5 Estate Planning Tips Amid COVID-19

May 15, 2020

COVID-19 has caused people around the country and world to rethink their finances and make adjustments for the future. If you wish to make estate planning changes and are not certain where to begin, use these tips from your Encino tax consultants to get started. 

Take Advantage Of Low Asset Values

Consider transferring assets since values have lowered. For example, transfer assets such as gifts to not only make low values work to your favor, but to enjoy the gift tax exemptions. Exemptions for estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfers (GST) have reached all-time highs and will decrease further at the end of 2025. You can also use low asset values for leveraged sales to save even more money. 

Use Out Of Office Document Signing

Ask your lawyer or Los Angeles accountants to forward out of office signing instructions if you do not want to meet in person because of social distancing guidelines. Due to COVID-19, it has become possible to have out of office signings for some documents. If you need witnesses for document signage, record video chats where friends, family members, or business associates watch you sign the papers. 

Review Existing Documents

Obtain your existing estate documents to determine if you need to make changes. Ensure your named trustees, successors, and executors are all able to perform necessary duties and that your current wishes regarding beneficiaries still make sense. You may decide to amend how you want your assets distributed or give certain monies and properties to charities. 

Also, account for life changes such as significant asset purchases or sales, births and deaths, and marital statuses. Now is also the time to check where your original trust and will documents are located. 

Make Transfers To GST-Exempt Trusts

Complete transfers GST-exempt trusts with long continuances. Gifts to such trusts can last for an “unlimited number of generations” at this time; however, there will likely be caps in the future. Make transfers now to capitalize on this perk in conjunction with low asset values. 

For more estate planning help in the wake of COVID-19, please contact Wallace & Associates. Your Los Angeles accounting firm is here to help.