What You Need in Addition to Your Will

Featured Article
August 2015

If you have an up-to-date will, you are to be congratulated—especially if it includes a charitable beneficiary such as our organization. Shockingly, more than half of Americans have no will at all. And your will is only one of the estate-planning documents you need.

The attorney who drafted your will may have prepared other necessary documents and explained them to you. Some of those documents also provide the opportunity for a charitable beneficiary. To be sure you have covered all of the essentials, please review the following list of what you may need:

  • Durable power of attorney, which authorizes someone to act on your behalf regarding financial matters if you are unable to do so.
  • Directive to physicians (also called a “living will”) in case you are ever in a physical state where you cannot speak for yourself.
  • List of recipients of tangible property. This list referenced in your will includes the people who are to receive specific items other than real estate and investments. Many types of tangible property can be donated to charity.
  • Revocable living trust (optional). You may want to create a revocable living trust, especially if you own out-of-state real estate and/or want to provide for management of your assets. Many living trusts include charitable beneficiaries.
  • Beneficiary designations. Be sure to review the beneficiary designations of your retirement accounts, life insurance, and bank and brokerage accounts to make sure they reflect your current wishes and are coordinated with your will. This is another way to benefit a charity.
  • List of assets, documents, and records and where to find them. Include where to find passwords to digital property, which is an increasingly important part of an estate.

When you discussed your estate plan with your attorney, you may have discussed your charitable legacy. If you included our organization in your plan, we invite you to inform us so that we can properly show our appreciation and discuss our programs for donors (and whether you would like to join them).

If you now wish to benefit our organization, there are two simple ways to do so: Add a codicil (amendment) to your existing will, or request a change-of-beneficiary form and designate us as beneficiary of a percentage of your retirement funds or life insurance proceeds.

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