We are all concerned about the potential health impact of the COVID-19 virus (also known as the novel coronavirus) on ourselves, our loved ones, our practices, and our clients. This webinar will explore steps you might consider for your practice and clients in light of the coronavirus. Health issues are without doubt of paramount importance for you and your practice. What steps are some firms taking to protect staff and clients? How might you communicate to clients? What might you communicate to clients? How can you hold meetings with clients? How can technology help you continue to practice in the current environment? What issues should be considered when signing documents in the current environment? While the speakers don’t have answers to many of these difficult questions, we hope that sharing our thoughts, and the steps we are taking, might prove helpful to other practitioners.
Practitioners should be certain that clients are aware of legal, tax, financial, and other implications should they choose to react to them. Living wills, do not resuscitate orders, and other healthcare related documents may be crucial to review for several reasons. Many of these documents especially standard forms obtained online or elsewhere, may contain language that could be completely contrary to what your client might wish to have done during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, some of these documents may prohibit intubation under all circumstances, including intubating for a short time to survive coronavirus. People who sign such forms often have in mind an extended period in a hospital, connected to an array of tubes, being artificially kept alive. That is a very different scenario then contracting coronavirus. Your clients should especially be certain that older loved ones, or loved ones with chronic or other conditions, have not signed documents that would deny them the care they would actually want in the current circumstances.
Although it almost seems inappropriate to suggest revising estate planning documents at this difficult time, if you have clients with documents that are dangerously outdated or don’t reflect their current wishes, the mortality rate of coronavirus would suggest that revisions may be critical at the present time.
The stock market has been adversely impacted. Clients might need to review revenue sources, expenditures, retirement plans, estate plans, financial models, business succession plans, and much more. The objective is not to capitalize on the adversity we are all experiencing, but to let clients know that we are here to help should they need it.
The present uncertainty also creates what could be an invaluable opportunity to pursue estate tax minimization strategies. While again worries of health and financial security are of paramount importance, we would be remiss not informing clients of these opportunities. Should there be a democratic victory in 2020 the current proposals of a much harsher estate tax and a capital gains tax on death would dramatically change the planning environment. While we prefer to wait for the coronavirus to resolve, that may preclude clients from being able to take valuable actions.
Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq., InterActive Legal Founder ^
Jonathan G. Blattmachr has over 35 years of experience in trusts and estates law and is currently a Principal at Pioneer Wealth Partners, LLC. He is a retired member of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and the Alaska, California and New York Bars. Mr. Blattmachr writes and lectures extensively on estate and trust taxation and charitable giving and has authored or co-authored eight books and over 500 articles on estate planning topics. He also co-developed Wealth Transfer Planning™, an InterActive Legal software system published for lawyers that provides specific client advice and automated document assembly for wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents.
Martin M. Shenkman, Esq., InterActive Legal Advisor ^
Martin M. Shenkman is an attorney in private practice in Fort Lee, NJ, and New York City. His practice concentrates on estate and tax planning, planning for closely held business, and estate administration. Mr. Shenkman is an author of over 40 books and more than 800 articles. He is an editorial board member of Trusts & Estates Magazine and the Matrimonial Strategist, and an advisor for InterActive Legal. He is the recipient of many awards including being a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Accredited Estate Planners (Distinguished) award from the National Association of Estate Planning Counsels. Mr. Shenkman was named Financial Planning Magazine 2012 Pro-Bono Financial Planner of the Year for his efforts on behalf of those living with chronic illness and disability. Investment Adviser Magazine featured him on the cover of its April 2013 issue naming as the lead of their “all-star lineup of tax experts.”
Barron K. Henley, Esq., Affinity Consulting ^
Baron K. Henley, Esq. Barron is an attorney who has over 20 years of experience in legal technology. After earning his B.S./B.A. (marketing and economics) and J.D. from The Ohio State University, Barron discovered his passion for helping lawyers fix problems within their practice. Motivated by this goal, together with Paul Unger, Barron founded Henley March & Unger Consulting, Inc. (one of the founding firms of Affinity) in 1998. Barron’s breadth of knowledge enables him to dive into the details of a firm’s operations. He is often the lead on Comprehensive Practice Analysis projects for clients that examine all aspects of making a firm more successful: technology, organizational design, process optimization and financial practices.
Event sponsors are not approved Continuing Education Sponsors. However, several states and regulatory agencies for a variety of professionals that participate on our teleconferences may still receive continuing education credit for their participation. If a participant wishes to receive CE credit for their participation in these teleconferences, they must apply to receive credit on their own and through their individual states and regulatory authorities. It is the responsibility of the participant to file for CE credit and is not guaranteed by the webinar sponsors.
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