Estate Plan Activity Increases in Response to Pandemic
By Bill Brammell, DBL Law
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting people personally and professionally. Over the last six months it has become apparent that estate planning is at the forefront of many clients’ minds as focus has turned to protecting both assets and loved ones. GGI member firm DBL Law estimates that its attorneys have spent 16% more time providing legal assistance for wills and estate planning clients thus far in 2020 compared with 2019. There has been an increase in the number of individuals under 50 years of age that are interested in preparing a will, trust, health directive, guardianship, or other estate-planning document, many citing the need to take precautions “just in case”.
Prior to the pandemic, the number of individuals who traditionally invested in estate planning had been on the decline. According to a 2020 survey conducted by Caring.com, only 32% of older and middle-aged Americans have a will or similar document, compared with 42% in 2017.
In these uncertain times, some may be asking “Are my personal affairs in order?” “Is it time to create or review my estate plan documents?” The following should be taken into consideration during the estate-planning process:
- Do you have a medical power of attorney and a living will?
- Who are your powers of attorney? Have they been notified?
- Have you appointed guardians for your children?
- Do you have the appropriate beneficiaries designated in your life insurance policies, pensions, and IRAs?
- What are the benefits of a revocable trust?
It is important to note that estate planning amidst a pandemic has presented additional challenges as individuals strive to comply with social distancing and other restrictions. Fortunately, many states have enacted laws to allow remote notarisation of documents, while others permit witnesses to sign electronically. Individuals wishing to customise an estate plan to meet his or her needs, should contact an estate-planning attorney.
Bill BrammellGGI member firm
Law Firm Services
Cincinnati (OH), Crestview Hills (KY), Louisville (KY), USA
T: +1 502 572 2500
Dressman, Benzinger LaVelle psc (DBL Law) provides a complete range of services to meet legal needs in a wide variety of industries. With cross-industry collaboration, DBL Law attorneys offer comprehensive service on complex matters that transcend simple categorisation in many areas of law.
Bill Brammell is a Partner in DBL Law’s Civil and Commercial Litigation group. He holds a JD from the University of Kentucky College of Law, an MSc in Democracy and Democratisation from University College London, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Louisville.
Published: Trust & Estate Planning Newsletter, No. 06, Autumn 2020 l Photo: Prostock-studio - stock.adobe.com