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Family Matters: Why the Wealthy Are Reconsidering Their Estate Plans


Estate planning is integral to protecting wealth, investments and valuable real estate. While COVID-19 remains a threat across the country, high-income individuals are reaching out to their attorneys to think seriously about their future plans or, in many cases, revamp their plans entirely. 

The pandemic has established a perpetual atmosphere of uncertainty, and estate planning lies at the intersection of the two greatest present concerns for a majority of Americans: health and finances. Although planning and managing an estate can cause friction within families, the bottom line is to ensure that loved ones are taken care of in a worst-case-scenario situation. 

“The focus over the last several months has been about exploring opportunities,” said Andrew Haas, a partner at Blank Rome who focuses his practice on tax with private clients. “The [idea is] to transfer wealth to future generations in the most tax-efficient way possible.”

Many attorneys are seeing that high net worth individuals, particularly those who have been avoiding this type of planning, are now prioritizing making arrangements for their estates. Though the pandemic has certainly been a factor in this trend, the election has been motivating people as well. Because of tax benefits that may change come November, such as depressed asset values, there are opportunities to make changes now that can be of benefit to future beneficiaries of an estate. 

“The election and pandemic are creating a ‘perfect storm’ for opportunities around estate planning,” said Haas. “We are encouraging all our clients to engage in active estate planning [during] the next couple months. We haven’t seen [anything] or had an opportunity to plan like this at this frequency since 2012.”

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“Family Matters: Why the Wealthy Are Reconsidering Their Estate Plans,” by Sarah Baumann was published in Estatenvy on September 4, 2020.