The Coronavirus Pandemic: Why now is the time for Wills and Estate Planning
Published 5:39 am 27 Mar 2020
The importance of safeguarding your assets only really seems to make sense when there’s something to safeguard them against. The current Coronavirus pandemic is proving to be one such event – unprecedented times mean potentially unprecedented risk, writes DG Institute’s Founder and CEO Dominique Grubisa.
We’re now getting a better sense of what the COVID-19 virus looks like. Symptoms can range from non-existent to life-threatening, with the elderly and those with compromised immune systems the most at risk. While the mortality rate is a little over 3%, it is far higher for those in their 70s, 80s and above.
Safeguarding your assets is about planning for the worst and, in this case, the worst is a global pandemic. So how might the Coronavirus outbreak affect family finances? And how can you safeguard those finances against the very worst of those effects?
Let’s take a closer look.
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The effect of COVID-19 on family finances
To put it perfectly bluntly, the worst effect of the current coronavirus pandemic is the loss of life. If wills and estate planning are items that have forever been pushed down the to-do list, your family won’t have control over what happens to your assets should a loved one be a victim of the pandemic.
You’ll instead leave what is called an ‘intestacy’, a condition of a person’s estate where a valid, binding declaration is lacking. Your assets will be distributed according to a legal formula and you will not only lose control of where your assets go, but also who distributes them.
Worst case scenario aside, the Coronavirus pandemic will likely have a wealth of other effects on family finances, many of which we’re already seeing. With work drying up, your potential to earn may well be impacted. Those in part time or casual positions are already being hit, but even permanent, full-time workers may eventually be forced into unpaid leave, after all available sick, annual and personal leave is utilised.
Business owners, particularly those in industries like the arts, hospitality and travel, will face difficult decisions as revenue streams dry up, potentially for months on end. And with the stock market down, even blue chip investments may not be the safe haven they’ve previously been.
How to ensure your assets are safeguarded
How does one ensure that their family’s finances are protected?
Basic estate planning is a great place to start. With the COVID-19 impact on estate planning set to get more and more acute as the weeks and months roll on, it’s important that you get to it as soon as possible.
While simple will kits are available, this is a process that many will be tackling for the first time. You’ll need to consider things like power of attorney, beneficiary designations and wealth transfer, so it’s wise to get expert help.
You may also conduct other crisis planning to ensure that creditors, lawyers and the government aren’t in a position to take away everything you’ve worked so hard to build. One way to do this is to restructure your assets into legal entities you control, thereby reducing risk.
Another important part of this process is continuing to grow your wealth. While this is obviously made far more difficult in such a situation, income generation and wealth planning are always the most effective strategies in securing your financial position.
How DG Institute can help
At DG Institute we’re experts in asset protection. Our Master Wealth Control program gives you all the tools you need to safeguard your family finances in a structured way. While contemplating the worst is never fun, it is vitally important, as it allows you to plan for the worst.
With the Coronavirus pandemic becoming more severe by the day, it’s your responsibility to be aware of all the possibilities, no matter how extreme (and indeed unlikely), in order to work out ways to respond to them.
Our upcoming emergency COVID-19 briefing helps you to do just that. This event will outline how you can quarantine both your business and personal wealth from the worst of the evolving Coronavirus situation, allowing you to support yourself and your family through the uncertain times that lay ahead.
Lawyer, Asset Protection Specialist and Property Educator
Dominique Grubisa is a practising legal practitioner with over 22 years of legal and commercial experience. She is a property investor and developer, an entrepreneur with businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia, a speaker, educator, writer and published author. You may contact Dominique at firstname.lastname@example.org
This column has been written for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such.