How to Give: Planned Giving

Estate Planning

Estate planning is important for everyone. Regardless of how much money you have, you need to think about what will happen to your assets and who will receive those assets when you pass away.

An estate plan can be simple or complex, depending on your personal finances and goals. On this website, you will learn about some estate planning techniques that can help you to achieve your estate planning goals.  Key components of an estate plan consist of a will and in some cases one or more trusts, life insurance and various other documents such as a health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney. We will also share a step-by-step process for estate planning to help guide you in this important area. Please make sure to take a look under the resources tab to find a glossary of terms.

Your Will

Everyone should have a will. To ensure your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes, it is important to take the time to create a will. If you pass away without a will, your assets will be distributed according to state law and your wishes may not be fulfilled. It is not only important for you to create a will now, but you should update your will as changes occur in your life.

Key Points:

  • Everyone needs a will
  • Your will takes effect at your death and governs the transfer of your probate assets
  • Your will can easily be changed at any time
  • If your will is probated, it becomes open to the public

Revocable Living Trusts

You may choose to create a living trust in addition to your will. Living trusts are also called “revocable living trusts.”  A revocable trust allows you to transfer assets to a trust and to name a trustee (it may be you or another person of your choice) who will manage the trust assets. While you are alive, you are the sole beneficiary of the trust. After your death, the trust becomes “irrevocable”, which means that no changes can be made to the trust. You trust will specify who becomes the beneficiaries of your trust after you pass away.

Key Points:

  • A living trust might be appropriate, depending on your personal circumstances
  • It is created during your lifetime to hold, manage, and distribute property
  • You can reserve the right to change or cancel the trust at any time and to act as your own trustee
  • Trusts can avoid probate, which keeps your plan private and speeds up estate settlement
  • Trusts are especially useful for holding real estate located out-of-state

Advance Directives

In addition to making a will or trust, you can sign an advance directive to document your wishes in case you should become incapacitated and unable to communicate your health care wishes. The advance directive can also include a health care power of attorney.

Your Financial Power of Attorney

Another important document to create is a financial power of attorney. Your financial power of attorney names a person (agent) of your choice to act on your behalf regarding financial matters. Your power of attorney can specify in what time and/or instances the power will be effective as well as which transactions your agent can perform on your behalf. Your financial power of attorney is only effective during your lifetime.

Estate Planning Checklist

  • Identify all your assets and gather your paperwork (such as titles, recent statements, and tax filings)
  • Contact your professionals (lawyer, CPA, or financial planner)
  • Create last will and testament
  • Create a health care power of attorney
  • Create a financial power of attorney
  • Review potential trust strategies
  • Identify estate value and asset types, retirement needs, and estate tax liability, and funding sources
  • Analyze estate transfer goals
  • Implement your estate plan

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to constitute legal or tax advice and may not be relied on as such. You should consult with your own tax adviser concerning the deductibility of contributions to CGCC Foundation.

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