Estate Planning Infographics Snapshot

Estate Planning During the Pandemic

Numbers have shown that more than half of the people living in the United States do not have estate planning documents in place. It seems during this Covid-19 pandemic, that many people who have procrastinated for years suddenly feel an urgent need to complete their estate plan.  At a minimum, everyone over the age of eighteen needs three things: a will, a financial power of attorney and an advance health care directive.  Parents with small children, should have guardianship provisions in their will or trust. Homeowners in California should have a living trust to keep loved ones out of probate court.

What if you procrastinated and you are in the hospital with no estate planning in place?  If you have capacity, you can sign documents in the hospital.  An estate planning attorney can talk to you over the phone, or via video chat, to determine your needs.  Your attorney can draft the legal documents that make your wishes known.  If mobile notaries and witnesses are allowed in the facility your documents can easily be finalized.

If it is not possible to execute estate planning documents using the standard practice of signing a will before two independent witnesses and notarizing all the other documents. It may be possible to sign an affidavit asking that the wishes expressed within the documents be honored by all individuals and courts as though they were signed in the presence of a notary and witnesses. The result is that the documents should be valid even though they are not executed under ideal circumstances. These documents should be signed under more formal circumstances when the Covid-19 Pandemic is at an end.

Estate Planning during the Pandemic

Estate Administration Boot Camp

Everything You Need to Know About Effectively Administering an Estate

Join Annette Dawson-Davis at the Estate Administration Boot Camp on October 10th and 11th held at the Courtyard by Marriott San Luis Obispo in beautiful San Luis Obispo.

Are you fully confident in your knowledge of the latest court and tax rules and the most effective transfer tools to ensure each client’s estate is laid to rest according to the decedent’s wishes, with minimal tax burden? This comprehensive 2-day instruction will give you all the skills you need to administer estates that include trusts and/or business interests without a hitch. Register today!

  • Don’t miss any crucial notice and filing requirements when opening the estate – learn what must be done right away.
  • Get helpful forms and checklists that will help you in administration.
  • Understand how income and estate tax deductions interact and find the most advantageous way to structure the tax returns
  • Learn how to use disclaimers more effectively.
  • Clarify what must be done when the trust becomes irrevocable.
  • Protect your professional reputation with a practical legal ethics guide focused on trusts and estates practice.
  • Prevent mistakes in final petition and ensure each estate is closed quickly and without disputes.


Who Should Attend

This two-day, basic level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants/CPAs
  • Certified Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers/Administrators/Managers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

DAY 1 – October 10, 2017

  • Forms of Administration and When They are Used
  • First Steps and Notices, Executor Duties, Opening the Estate
  • Marshalling the Assets
  • Handling Debts and Claims Against the Estate
  • Spouse Elective Share and Disclaimers
  • Key Intestacy Laws You Must Know
  • Trusts That Affect Estate Administration

DAY 2 – October 11, 2017

  • Income Tax Returns
  • Handling Distributions
  • Legal Ethics in Estate Administration
  • Estate and Trust Contests, Disputes, Challenges
  • Business Interests in Estate Administration
  • Portability and Estate, Gift, GST Taxes
  • Closing the Estate and Final Accounting

Starting a conversation about estate planning

Communication is the key to a successful estate plan.  It is also important that your successor trustee be good with people and money and be able to communicate well and honestly with your beneficiaries.

Below is an article from Fidelity with some tips on getting the conversation started about an estate plan.

Tips for Estate Planning Conversations


Even in the most open families, conversation often quiets when two subjects arise: death and money.

For both parents and adult children, confronting the prospect of each other’s deaths can be uncomfortable. Privacy around financial matters is often a key concern, even among close family members.

Why conversation is critical

When it comes to estate planning, there are often significant financial and personal benefits to being transparent and having sensitive conversations. For example, you might assume one of your likely survivors would be comfortable managing a certain asset or serving as trustee, when in reality that person is not up to the responsibility.

From the survivors’ perspective, it’s important they understand your intentions and plans for your estate. Lack of clear communication during estate planning (or an inadequate or outdated plan) can not only reduce the amount your beneficiaries receive, it can also result in uncertainty and conflict for them in an already difficult time.

If you do most of the work on your family’s finances, you’ll want to be certain of your survivors’ comfort level with taking on the task and their understanding of your intentions. For some, it may be best for a professional to assume the responsibility. Consult with your attorney or advisor.

Survivors may even make decisions based on erroneous ideas of what the deceased would have wanted. For example, when communication is lacking, some surviving spouses think honoring their loved one means keeping investments exactly as they were at the time of death. Eventually, this could lead to an outdated portfolio and missed growth opportunities.

Additional benefits of dialogue

The benefits of having a dialogue about estate planning within your family don’t stop at asset protection and an accurate understanding of intentions. Such an open dialogue can:

  • Bring your family a sense of empowerment, that you are taking control of each other’s collective future rather than leaving some elements to chance.
  • Pass on family values.
  • Help your family develop a common understanding and a common philosophy for how you and your family’s legacy will be carried out through generations.
  • Help prepare the family in the event you or another family member becomes incapacitated.
  • Help other members of your family—your parents, your siblings, or your children— develop a responsible plan.
  • Allow your family to take advantage of some of the best tax strategies.

How to get the conversation started

Despite how important this conversation can be, it may still be difficult to initiate. There is certainly more than one right way to begin a dialogue; however, here are a few suggestions to help guide you:

  • Pick a positive, comfortable environment during a period of relative calm. Don’t wait until a time of crisis when it may be too late to make adequate plans and family members may not feel emotionally able to talk.
  • Be sincere about your intentions. Be clear that you are initiating these talks out of concern that proper plans are in place and are understood.
  • Stress the importance and benefits of this conversation to everyone affected.One way to do this is to show an example of an estate that was improperly handled because family members had failed to discuss their plans with each other.

As an adult child, make sure your parents have their own plans and will be properly cared for if one of them passes away or becomes incapacitated.

As a parent, make sure your children have an understanding of your plans and wishes; if the children are still minors, make sure the appointed guardians are willing and clear on your intentions.

As a grandparent or other relative,ensure your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., will be taken care of through your own estate planning, as well as coordinating with their parents on their plans, too.

View the entire article here on