The COVID-19 pandemic has changed virtually everything about how we live in 2020. For many of us in the Philadelphia suburbs, school and work are distanced, and our social lives are almost entirely online. Then there are those of us who have gotten the illness or know someone who has. Worst of all are all the Pennsylvanians who have died over the past six months.
It’s a time to make your health and safety your top priority. It’s also an excellent time to take care of your estate planning if you have not already.
Why wills and trusts matter
When someone dies, their debts are settled and their remaining assets are passed to the deceased’s heirs. An estate plan gives you control over this process before you pass away. This is especially important for wealthy individuals with multiple high-value assets. Without proper planning, the value of retirement accounts, investments, real estate and ownership interest in a business can be eaten away by court costs. If the estate you leave behind is valuable enough, it could even be subject to estate taxes.
Trusts such as revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts can help. Assets placed in trust avoid probate and, generally, estate taxes. They can also give you a measure of control over when and how your beneficiaries receive income from those assets. What type of trust is appropriate for your estate depends on your individual goals and legal needs.
Enjoy the financial and emotional benefits
Many people put off estate planning because they do not like to think about their mortality. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable about this subject, but estate planning will not shorten your life. Instead, it will give you control over how your wealth and business accomplishments will be passed down to the next generation. In these uncertain times, the peace of mind a comprehensive estate plan can bring you is more valuable than ever.