Regardless of your age or your financial circumstances, there is no better time than the present to plan for the disposition of your assets. A carefully thought-out will can minimize the impact of estate taxes and provide more funds for your family as well as an enduring expression of your charitable wishes through legacy gifts.
Does these kinds of legacy gifts make sense for you?
Legacy gifts through your will or trust could be right for you if:
- You want the flexibility of a gift that doesn’t affect your current cash flow.
- Long-term planning is more important to you than an immediate tax deduction.
- You believe in the mission of LivingWell Medical Clinic and want to see it continue for generations to come.
- You wish to create a charitable legacy and make an enduring statement about your priorities.
- You want to honor a loved one with a tribute gift.
- You already have a will in place or are preparing to write one.
Planning points to get you started:
Legacy gifts through your will or trust are one of the simplest legacy gifts to arrange. However, you have several options for how to plan your bequest, so you do need to do some basic planning to be sure you choose the type of bequest that suits you best.
Your bequest can be:
- A certain dollar amount
- An item of value or a piece of property
- All or a percentage of the remainder of your estate after all debts costs and other bequests have been paid
- Contingent upon the passing of another beneficiary who gets priority
- Designated to a specific purpose or program or unrestricted to be used where it’s most needed at that time
How to make a tribute gift to honor someone you love:
Who’s that special person in your life that deserves to be recognized? Maybe they are living or perhaps they’ve passed on. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to honor them, consider making a tribute gift in your Will or Trust to LivingWell Medical Clinic in that person’s name.
Be sure to notify us of your gift. If you like, we will send a personalized notification of your gift (without stating the amount) to the person being honored or to his or her family and friends.
Do I have to re-do everything if I want to add a charitable gift in my Will?
No, you don’t. A simple document called a codicil is used to make amendments to an existing Will. For example, you might use a codicil to change the executor of your Will or to add a charitable gift.
What happens if I die without a valid Will?
More than 50 percent of Americans die without a valid Will. This is unfortunate in most cases because state laws will take over and will distribute your probate estate, possibly in ways that you would not choose.
You’ve worked hard to achieve what you have, and you deserve the right to say what happens to it. A will gives you the control you deserve.
When you write your Will, we hope you will consider including a gift to LivingWell Medical Clinic. It’s a simple and meaningful way you can support our mission of inspiring hope to those with unexpected pregnancies for today and future generations. By doing so, you ensure that your legacy will continue.
Writing a Will is one of the least expensive legal documents and usually straightforward. And the peace of mind you gain by knowing you have a valid Will in place is well worth the attorney’s fee.
When do I need to change my Will?
It is important that you do not procrastinate to get your Will amended or even rewritten as your circumstances or the makeup of your estate changes. There are at least 10 life events that create the need to review and perhaps update your Will:
- Marriage or Divorce
- New baby, adopted children, or stepchildren
- Moving to another state
- Changing your mind about heirs
- Major changes in property ownership or financial assets
- Changes in estate planning and estate tax law
- Death or disability of someone named in your Will
- Children have reached the age of 18
- You would like to provide for a ministry organization
- Change in health condition
Do I need an attorney to write a Will?
There is no legal requirement that a will be drawn up by an attorney. Some people use fill-in-the blank legal documents, computer programs, or online will services to take care of basic concerns such as leaving their property to loved ones and naming a guardian for young children.
However, a qualified attorney is in the best position to know the laws of your state and to advise you on how best to accomplish what you want to do. Many estate plans can avoid or reduce unnecessary taxes on IRAs or other tax-deferred assets with a well-considered plan. In some states, probate can be expensive and time consuming, and a Living Trust can be beneficial. Generally, a Trust also is a good idea if you own real property in more than one state. There are numerous factors to consider, and a wise attorney can be very helpful.
If you don’t know an attorney, you might consider looking in the directory of the Christian Legal Society at http://clsnet.org/referrals. Or check with your pastor or a business friend or acquaintance.
Who Should be My Executor?
The executor named in your Will has the responsibility of carrying out its directions. You can name a spouse, relative, or friend. Many people prefer to name a bank or trust company that is experienced in handling estates and managing the investment and distribution of property. One advantage of a bank is its permanence because and individual can predecease you.
What does probate mean?
Probate refers to the review or testing of a Will before a court to ensure that the Will is authentic, and the estate is distributed property. If there is no valid Will, then the Probate Court will appoint an administrator of the estate to facilitate the estate’s distribution in accordance with state law.
Probate can be expensive and time consuming, and a good estate plan minimizes the cost and time for your loved ones. Your non-probate assets are any assets in your estate that will pass to heirs or charities without involving Probate Court. Examples include jointly held property such as real estate, jointly held bank accounts, and beneficiary designations in a life insurance policy or qualified retirement plan. Additionally, some people title all their property to a Living Trust, and at death, the named trustee will distribute or manage assets in accordance with the Trust document. The Trust and assets possessed by the Trust are not reviewed by the Probate Court. In states where probate fees are expensive, a Living Trust can save on those costs. Also, those who own property in another state may want to consider a Living Trust so that they do not have to deal with two Probate Courts.