All over the country, and especially in Florida, millions of families are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have shut down, traveling restrictions have been put in place, and safety measures have been instituted nationwide that prevent us from living our normal lives. With the possibility of infection from the virus higher than ever before, planning for the financial future of your family by establishing a well-secured estate plan has never been more vital.
The trouble that most people have when it comes to estate planning, especially during a global emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is knowing where to start. The best practice for setting up a safe and secure plan for your assets during COVID-19 is to contact an experienced estate planning attorney that specializes in helping clients understand the planning process and the different options available for their inheritance.
Is it Necessary to Have a Revocable Living Trust?
When you decide to create a trust for your financial assets or any part of your estate, you have certain choices to make that determine how the trust itself will be accessed by your beneficiaries and when they will be able to access it. There are many laws that guide how a grantor can distribute their assets, but three of the most important options for these trusts include:
- Revocable trusts: You remain in control of your estate and assets until you pass away, and your beneficiaries will then obtain access to their inheritance.
- Irrevocable trusts: The beneficiary of your estate legally owns the property in the trust once it is created, even if you are still living.
- Revocable living trusts: Your assets are distributed according to your request after you pass away but, while you are alive, you can adjust the provisions at any time or “revoke” them entirely.
Depending on the personal circumstances in your family, you may feel that establishing a revocable living trust is the safest option for your estate. If you are still unsure about whether to follow through with transitioning your estate plan into a revocable living trust, speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you in the right direction.
What is a Will and Do I Need One?
Planning for your future and the safety of your assets means that you may have encountered the legal practice of establishing a will as part of your estate planning process. Much of what people know about a will is similar to the concept of a trust, in that it is a legal document dictating what happens to your possessions and financial assets after you pass away. However, a will is much more than that.
There are two different types of wills: a living will and a traditional will, which is known as a “last will and testament.” One of the key differences is that a living will dictate your end-of-life decisions, including your preferences for medical care if you end up on life support or in a circumstance where you are unable to make decisions that are sound-of-mind. Living wills also allow you to choose whether your organs can be made available for donation after you have passed away if they are found to be viable.
Having a living will or a last will and testament as part of your estate plan can give you an added sense of peace in knowing that there will be a path of care that you have personally selected, rather than not knowing how an emergency situation, such as a global pandemic, may affect your end-of-life care.
How Often Should I Evaluate My Estate Plan?
Families are often surprised to learn that they should update their estate plans every three years in order to keep them up to date with local tax guidelines. Even changes that occur within the family should be updated on any existing estate plan, such as new children that have been born into the family or any members who have changed their names due to marriage or personal reasons. Keeping up with estate planning every three years is also a good way to avoid simple mistakes and ensure your wishes are still accurate and up-to-date.
It can be especially important to update your estate plan in the midst of a pandemic like COVID-19. If one of the main beneficiaries of your assets contracts the virus and is hospitalized as a result, you may need to adjust the stipulations on your trust guidelines. There are a variety of benefits to monitoring your estate plan, especially when you work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Trusted Veteran Estate Planning Attorneys in Orlando, Florida
Evaluating your assets in the midst of a global pandemic may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. When you contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Patriot Legal Group in Orlando, Florida, our team of dedicated legal professionals will help you work through the process every step of the way. We have years of experience successfully planning estates and financial assets for a variety of clients, and now it’s our turn to help you.
Why wait another day before planning for the next emergency? Contact us today at (407) 737- 7222 or reach out to us online to learn more about scheduling a free consultation with one of our estate planning professionals.