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The number of global coronavirus cases surpassed 900,000 on Wednesday—with more than 200,000 known infections, and a death toll that has quadrupled over the last week just in the United States. The health implications alone are terrifying enough, not to mention the economic turmoil or the emotional toll of lockdown measures currently affecting three out of four Americans.
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The coronavirus is making this a most challenging time. It can make considering our own death all the more frightening. However, for some, this is the perfect time to think about estate planning. Your estate plan should be a priority in this crisis.

While looking for issues is important, there are also opportunities to consider, according to Yahoo Finance’s recent article entitled “How to Take Advantage of New Estate Planning Opportunities Caused by the Coronavirus.”

For some, the current financial landscape may be advantageous, due to low interest rates and depressed asset values. That is where your estate planning strategy is needed.

The IRS just announced one of the lowest rates applicable to certain wealth transfer techniques. This, in addition to depressed asset prices, can make for some great opportunities.

This is a very good time for estate planning, because of the federal estate tax system. Even though the federal estate tax rate is a flat 40%, we can currently gift during life or leave at death a total of $11.58 million to children or loved ones without any taxes.

As a result, a married couple can leave more than $23 million to loved ones, before they start to pay federal estate tax.

The federal estate tax exemption is very liberal, when compared to the past. It is also scheduled to adjust upward for inflation until the end of 2025. The federal estate tax exemption will then be cut in half, unless extended or made permanent.

Yes, Congress can also act before that. They can enact a law, and a president could sign it to decrease the exemptions even sooner. Therefore, regardless of the current opportunity, it may be the right time to make gifts before the exemptions decrease.

The key is to have a strategic plan and to make decisions that are right for you and your family.

Estate planning can be intimidating and doubly so in this pandemic. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney and take care of this today to protect your families and their futures.David Payne Law's office in Republic Missouri

Reference: Yahoo Finance (April 2, 2020) “How to Take Advantage of New Estate Planning Opportunities Caused by the Coronavirus”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Probate Court, Inheritance, Asset Protection, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Unified Federal Estate & Gift Tax Exemption

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