Estate Planning Weekly COVID-19 Update – 06.16.20
This weekly COVID-19 update is brought to you by our Chambliss Estate Planning team. We are sharing articles, legal developments, external resources, and tips for coping during these uncertain times. Each weekly issue will cover various trends of vital interest in the world of estate planning, elder law, and special needs planning. To be added to our email list, please subscribe.
Dear Clients and Friends:
While many of us are working remotely at present, we are also collaborating to implement creative and resourceful solutions to meet the needs of our clients in this uniquely challenging time.
We are doing planning consultations, document signings, care coordination, drafting of documents, and all related work—in sum, all the types of work we usually do. We have generally moved most meetings to either Zoom video conference or audio conference calls. In person document signings at our office are generally being done abiding carefully by social distancing protocols. Moreover, the governors of Tennessee and Georgia have signed executive orders which enable “virtual document signings” for a limited period of time.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can assist you with your elder law, special needs planning, or estate planning needs.
— Dana, Greg, and your Chambliss team
Save the Date: Upcoming Estate Planning Webinar
Hot Topics in Estate Planning in a Time of Uncertainty
The coronavirus pandemic has focused the attentions of many on the need for a solid, up-to-date estate plan. Furthermore, the November elections are just around the corner, and big changes in federal estate and gift tax exemptions and options may be on the horizon. In this timely webinar, Greg Willett and Dana Perry will discuss options for planning to maximize use of your estate/gift tax exclusion and make sure your loved ones are protected, as well as answer your questions.
Date: Wed., July 8, 2020
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Stay tuned for details. We will send the registration link in our newsletter next week.
Notable Changes Under SECURE and CARES Acts
By: David Hunter
Both the SECURE Act and CARES Act are filled with important changes related to estate planning. The Secure Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act), enacted in December of 2019, carries significant updates for retirement asset planning, especially with the elimination of “stretch” required minimum distributions (RMDs). And, the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), enacted in March of this year, provides financial relief to both individuals and businesses who are facing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key updates under the CARES Act is providing flexibility to IRA owners and retirement plan participants.
These two Acts are packed with notable updates, and we discuss their impact on potential specific scenarios in our article Estate Planning Implications of SECURE Act and CARES Act. If you are looking for a rundown on the significant changes for each Act, please see below and let us know if you have any questions.
Significant changes under the SECURE Act and CARES Act include the following:
Elimination of “Stretch” RMDs
IRA owners and qualified retirement plan participants frequently designate their spouse as a primary beneficiary and their children or grandchildren as contingent beneficiaries. Prior to the SECURE Act, retirement assets could generally be distributed over a beneficiary’s lifetime. By “stretching” the distributions over the beneficiary’s lifetime (1) undistributed retirement assets continued to grow on a tax-deferred basis and (2) young beneficiaries (e.g., children and grandchildren) had time to mature before receiving a full distribution of retirement assets.
The SECURE Act substantially limits the ability to stretch distributions from IRAs and qualified plans. A new 10-year payout period applies to all but five categories of “eligible designated beneficiaries” under the SECURE Act. The 10-year rule provides that the entire retirement account must be distributed by December 31 of the 10–year anniversary of the account owner’s date of death. Withdrawals do not need to be made pro rata, nor do they need to be made every year, though the funds must be entirely withdrawn by the above deadline. “Eligible designated beneficiaries” consist of designated beneficiaries who are (1) the spouse, (2) a minor child of the IRA owner or plan participant (benefits would have to be distributed within 10 years from when the child attains the age of majority), (3) a person with a disability or who is chronically ill, or (4) a person not more than 10 years younger than the account owner (often a sibling).
Increase in Age for RMDs
For individuals who reach age 70½ after December 31, 2019, the SECURE Act increases the RMD age from 70½ to 72…
Estate Planning Resources
How to Avoid Problems as a Trustee
Being a trustee is a big responsibility, and if you don’t perform your duties properly, you could be personally liable. That’s why it’s important to hire the right people to guide you in this important role.
Estate Planning Implications of SECURE Act and CARES Act
The SECURE Act (signed into law on December 20, 2019) changed many of the established rules applicable to retirement assets – most notably, elimination of “stretch” required minimum distributions. Likewise, the CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, to provide economic relief to individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide flexibility for IRA owners and retirement plan participants. This article discusses various scenarios that may lead to an additional conversation with your legal and tax advisors.
Also Check Out…
Limited Visitation at Tennessee Long-Term Care Facilities Will Resume Under New Guidelines
New forms of visitation in Tennessee long-term care facilities are permitted as of yesterday, June 15, 2020. Read Gov. Lee’s Executive Order No. 49 for more information.
Coping With COVID-19
Working From Home Tips: How to Handle Meals If You Work From Home
In theory, making fresh lunches daily while working from home sounds great. But in practice, it’s a huge time and energy drain. Especially if you have virtual meetings all day long, carving out that extra time or using up energy to cook in the middle of your day can add even more stress.
That’s why meal prepping makes a lot of sense even though you technically COULD whip up fresh meals at lunchtime while working from home.
Instead of rummaging through your fridge for ingredients, whipping together something quick and having to deal with the mess later, you can just pull a ready-made meal out, heat it up, and enjoy. That way, you have a real lunch break. Not a cooking session.
Another reason meal prep helps productivity when working from home is there’s less break in the flow. If you’re someone like me who gets into phases of deep focus, sometimes hunger is just a really annoying distraction.
Chambliss Stands for Equal Justice Under the Law
The Chambliss family is committed to ensuring that equal justice is not just a dream, but an inalienable right afforded to every American.
Our Chambliss team continues to monitor legal developments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact Jim Catanzaro, Justin Furrow, or your relationship attorney if you have questions or need additional information.