What is Planned Giving?
Chances are that you’ve contributed to one or more organizations that are meaningful to you over the years. In fact, more than 75% of people give to charity during their lifetimes. A "planned gift" is continuing charitable giving after a person’s lifetime.
It’s easy to put off developing a detailed estate plan, but don’t wait! This one act can help you preserve for your heirs what it took a lifetime to achieve. Consider a planned gift to Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana when discussing your estate plans with your attorney. By doing so, you can help Girl Scouts for generations to come.
Why an Estate Plan?
The word "estate" is simply used to describe any property, money or personal belongings that you may have at the time of your death. Most people leave an estate when they die, even though they may not have great wealth. Anyone can arrange to leave a charitable gift of any amount from their estate when they die.
When talk turns to taxes, most people think of income taxes. Yet, for many people, estate taxes may be the largest single tax expense they’ll ever incur. In fact, with estate tax rates currently running as high as 55%, your estate could be worth half of what you think. Without proper planning, you could lose more than half of what you’ve spent a lifetime building. The government could take as much as half of your entire estate, and the balance may then be distributed to the people they select. With proper planning, you can maximize the distributions to your family and to Girl Scouts and minimize the amount taken by the government.
There are plenty of excellent reasons to draw up an estate plan or to revise an existing one: you marry, give birth, grow wealthier, or learn that Congress has revamped the tax code yet again. Moving can also affect your estate. Different states have different estate planning laws which could affect your estate plan when you move from one state to another.
Maybe you think it’s too early to develop an estate plan; you may even think your estate is too small. Whatever the size of your estate, developing an estate plan can bring you the peace of mind of knowing the people and organizations you care about will ultimately benefit.
Your Estate Requires More Than a Will
You already have a will, don’t you? It is the bedrock of a sound estate plan. But to make sure that you and/or your heirs are adequately protected and your assets are distributed as you wish, you may want to consider these additional estate planning tools:
1. Include a trust in your will. If you have substantial financial assets, consider creating a trust in your will. The potential benefits include tax-saving opportunities that can help ensure your heirs won’t have to liquidate those assets to pay estate taxes.
2. Review ownership and beneficiary designations. You can unwittingly limit your power to distribute certain types of property through your will. In the case of a married couple who owns all property in joint tenancy, the will of the first spouse to die may lose its effectiveness.
3. State your health care wishes through a living will. This simple document outlines your preferences about lifesaving medical treatments if you’re terminally ill. Combine this with a durable power of attorney for health care to appoint someone to make your medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself.
4. Keep your financial affairs private. Unlike a will, a living trust is not available under public records and all assets in the trust are handled with the same privacy. Your personal family business is not exposed.
5. Finally, allow yourself peace of mind. Seeking professional advice and looking at all your options can lead to a tax-wise estate plan that gives you the comfort of knowing that your assets will benefit those you leave behind.
To learn more about how you can support Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana through planned giving, please contact Suzy Gessner as (502)636-0900 ext. 23300.