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Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC

325 Eighth Street

Huntington, WV 25701-2225

Phone (304) 523-2100

Toll Free (866) 617-4736

By Anna Melissa Price Of Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC on 06/26/2020
Estate Planning Advice: Has It Changed Following the Pandemic?

Estate planning advice is the same in one key aspect as it was before the coronavirus pandemic hit the US: everyone needs an estate plan. How that advice has changed depends on your situation. Have you experienced a substantial decrease in the value of significant assets in your estate? Has your health or the health of one of your personal representative or executor, trustee, legatees, or beneficiaries changed? If any aspects of your estate or persons directly involved in your estate have altered, or if you haven’t yet created an estate plan, talking to an experienced estate planning attorney is critical to preserve your hard-earned assets for your use and for passing on.

Once only an occasional worry, job and health insecurity are now everyday concerns. Wearing masks in public, daily social distancing reminders, and unemployment claim statistics reinforce our anxieties daily. Creating or updating a comprehensive estate plan goes a long way to help provide for your financial security and for your loved ones regardless of your current economic status.

Estate Planning Advice in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky: What You Need to Know

Many mistakenly think estate planning is only necessary for high asset individuals. While protection of a sizable estate is highly recommended, estate planning helps you prepare and plan for many other purposes, such as these:

  • Management and disposition of your estate upon your death;

  • Childcare arrangements in the event of your death;

  • Retirement planning;

  • Disability or severe or chronic illness of yourself or a loved one;

  • Tax planning;

  • Lifetime gifts to loved ones; or

  • Charitable giving.

Estate planning is an absolute necessity for high-asset individuals, but many of these purposes—such as childcare arrangements and retirement planning—apply regardless of income or economic status. Given the uncertainty created in our lives by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, obtaining reliable estate planning advice to make sure your broader estate plan is up-to-date is a must.

Estate Planning Considerations in Light of COVID-19: Have They Changed?

Whether you have an existing estate plan or you’re starting from scratch, individuals in West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), and Ohio (OH) have felt the pinch from COVID-19. Regardless of where you live, you’ve probably felt the impact from job losses, a decrease in assets or their value, or concerns about your state of health. These changes can make us feel insecure about our future as a whole. Will you have enough assets to retire? How can you make sure you can continue to provide for yourself and your family? 

Having an existing estate plan should not lull you into believing you don’t need to act. A review of your estate plan may be warranted, especially if an event like one of these has occurred since you finalized your estate plan:

  • More than five years have passed

  • You have married

  • You have changed jobs or positions, resulting in a change in income, travel, or personal risk

  • You have added one or more children to your family

  • You have experienced a death in your immediate family

  • You have acquired or paid off a significant amount of debt

  • You have filed bankruptcy

  • You have received a significant sum through inheritance or other means

  • You or a family member has developed a significant or chronic illness or disability

  • You have lost one or more family members, legatees, or beneficiaries

Even if only one of these or a similar event has occurred, your current estate plan may no longer serve your needs. Reviewing your estate plan with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you determine whether your current estate plan is comprehensive and adequately addresses your current circumstances.

Get Estate Planning Advice on How the CARES Act Could Affect Your Estate Plan

The US Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help businesses and individuals struggling in the financial havoc wreaked by the virus, quarantines, and shutdown orders across the country. News has hit heaviest the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program, but few realize it also includes several provisions that could affect your 2020 investment and estate planning decisions. Following are some of the provisions you should consider as you make financial decisions in 2020:

  • The extension of the federal tax return filing date, taxpayers also have until that date, July 15, 2020, to make IRA contributions for 2019

  • Individuals need not take minimum otherwise required distributions from IRAs and qualified retirement accounts in 2020, although they may not return distributions made prior to the passage of the CARES Act

  • The ten percent penalty for early withdrawals from IRAs is waived for amounts up to $100,000

  • Charitable giving enjoys enhanced tax benefits

Additionally, the Annual Federal Rate for interfamily loans is at historically low levels, making this estate planning option more attractive.

Estate Planning Advice: What Is a Comprehensive Estate Plan?

Going beyond the immediate concern of creating an estate plan for emergencies, creating a comprehensive estate plan helps you plan for these and related questions. A comprehensive estate plan is not one that just plans for disposition of your assets after your death but also helps you manage your assets and giving while you are still living. 

The parts of an estate plan vary depending on the nature of your estate, your age and health, your income, and your intended legatees and beneficiaries. Any combination of documents like these may be helpful in creating a comprehensive estate plan:

Forms for many of these may be advertised online, but generic forms do not necessarily take into account your state’s laws or how a particular estate planning tool coordinates with current tax laws or other parts of your estate plan.

Where to Turn for Estate Planning Advice in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky

Your estate plan should be enforceable, express your desires, and effectively preserve your assets and provide for your loved ones. Relying on an estate plan created years ago or before a significant change in your family or financial situation could hinder your ability to provide for yourself and your family. To prevent that possibility, talk to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to create or update your entire estate plan.

In the greater Huntington area, individuals seeking estate planning advice rely on Anna M. Price at Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC. Whether you need an estate planning attorney in WV, OH, or KY for creating a will for the first time or updating your existing estate plan, Anna provides reliable, compassionate guidance. For a consultation, call her at (304) 523-2100 or complete this online contact form.