TaxNotes – Margaret Ryznar: A Tax Credit for Wills (July 9, 2021)

Margaret Ryznar has published an article on the TaxNotes, titled “A Tax Credit for Wills,” The article begins as follows:

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed certain problems in American society, including a systemic lack of estate planning, which Americans have a long history of neglecting. The reasons may vary. For example, many people — not expecting a pandemic — want to avoid confronting their mortality or think they have years to do it. Others simply never execute a will, letting the default state law determine their estate distribution. While default laws can reflect the property disposition a person wanted, sometimes they do not. For example, a person may want to benefit a charity to some extent, but this cannot be accomplished by default intestacy laws.

Not only do too few people have wills, but it is logistically difficult to get them in circumstances such as a pandemic. The will execution ceremony requires several people to gather together to witness the will, which is difficult when a contagious respiratory virus is circulating. Yet, a pandemic only heightens the importance of having a will and healthcare power of attorney, given the health risk that pandemics pose. Further, while parents of minors may have a comparatively low mortality because of their age, they should appoint guardians for their children in their wills. For these reasons, many doctors and nurses were scrambling to prepare their estate documents at the onset of the pandemic.1 Not only is this a stressful situation logistically, but it also would be beneficial to make significant decisions such as estate plans with a calmer mind. Other circumstances that make executing a will difficult include loss of mental capacity to make one or an accident before being able to execute it.

Click here to see the full article: “A Tax Credit for Wills”

Posted by Anthony Tran, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal

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