Estate planners seeing business boost during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fear of the unknown can be overwhelming, especially in today's uncertain climate.

Estate planners nationwide are seeing heavier traffic, as is the case with licensed fiduciary Donald Fischer.

He says he's used to seeing three to five hits per day on his Fiduciary Fresno website, but since the onset of COVID 19, he's seen a boost in business.

Fischer says, "The panic opens our eyes, we have that moment when we realize things happen and we have limited time, and maybe we have not planned to fail." He says estate planning is not something to be rushed.

"Trusts help you avoid probate, and it helps you avoid taxation." Before finding an attorney, list your assets like property, investments and bank accounts; then know where they're going.

Fischer says, "you might want it to go to relatives, a friend, maybe a charitable organization."

Attorney Jeffrey Wall says one of the most common mistakes he's noticed: people not knowing their estates are large enough to warrant a plan.

Wall says, "Almost everyone who has a house, regardless if they've paid it off, really ought to consider an estate plan based on a living trust." The number one mistake: putting it off for too long.

While there are online options and "how-to" books, Wall suggests seeing a professional.

He says, "Many estates, even small ones, have special circumstances. This is something that must be done carefully." For those who already have an estate plan, experts say a good rule of thumb is revisiting every five years, or anytime a life event occurs like having a child or a new business venture.
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