The reality brought on by the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has forced the majority of the population to address the ‘what if’ scenarios not everyone is comfortable with. Despite the prolonged mandatory isolation time and social distancing, many people still reach out with professionals to execute estate plans they’ve put on hold. In contrast, others consider starting estate plans they should have attended to years ago.
Fortunately, will and probate lawyers are offering creative alternatives to get estate planning documents signed and moving.
If you are planning to manage your trust and wills with a Weybridge firm amid the pandemic, keep the following in mind:
You Can Do (Most) Estate Planning at Home
You might be unable to meet with your lawyer physically, but you can still start, updater or finalize your estate plan. Most law firms are working remotely and are available via phone, email or video conferencing to advise you. They can also draft documents and send them to you through email for review.
There are Plenty of Document Signing Options Available
Many lawyers approach case signings on a case by case basis. Since the government advises social distancing, it’s best to print out your forms and sign them at home. You can send your documents over or have your lawyer send the documents to you. Some law firms even offer drive-up services.
Keep in mind that meeting with your attorney need not always be a must-have for document signing. Your lawyer can forward instructions on how to sign. You might, however, need witnesses. You can do this online, so you can practice social distancing.
Use Your Spare Time to Arrange Your Estate Planning
Before the pandemic, you might have had a busy schedule — too busy that you didn’t have time to spare for your estate planning. Now, you have the time to address issues you’ve placed on the back burner. Use the time to review your estate planning while considering issues that might arise due to the pandemic.
Gifting Assets: Now Might Be the Best Time
Before, when you consider asset gifting, the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) could reduce the tax efficiency of the gift. Due to the pandemic’s current economic impact, however, now could be the best time to make gifts of assets that are not qualified for any Inheritance Tax (IHT) reliefs. You can also gift assets like investment portfolios and properties, as well as assets currently standing at a loss. You could gift these without accumulating costly CGT charges.
Start Succession Planning
If you have a family business, start planning for succession, as well as passing on shares in the company to your family members. The recent pandemic’s economic impact might reduce the value of your company’s shares; therefore, now is the time to consider passing the shares to your family.
Overall, the recent pandemic might have halted plenty of our operations, but that doesn’t mean you can stop planning for the future. Speak with your estate planning attorney today to learn more.