Major Gifts   >   The Need for an Estate Plan

The Need for an Estate Plan

Estate Planning is deciding what will happen after your lifetime to your possessions and your heirs.  Almost everyone needs and estate plan, even though many people think estate planning is only for the very rich. 

The more modest your estate, the more important it is to arrange for its careful handling and disposition. 

Perhaps the most important reason for making an estate plan, however, is that it gives you the piece of mind that you’re doing all you can to benefit those you care about the most.

Setting Estate Planning Goals

In setting goals, first ask yourself whom you want to benefit. Your number one concern is most likely your family.  They may have to face new and heavy burdens without you.  How can you keep taxes and administration costs to a minimum so that your family receives your assets intact?

And there are other factors.  What will happen to any business enterprise in which you have an interest? Are there charitable organizations you favor that could use help from your estate?

The Tools of Estate Planning

Elements of an estate plan include a will, trusts, life insurance policies, buy-sell agreements, joint ownership of community property agreements, a living will, a durable power of attorney, deferred employee benefits/retirement plans, and more.

How to Begin

The first step of every estate plan is compiling inventory of personal data – the current value of all your assets, how they are owned, your liabilities, and names and addresses of intended estate beneficiaries. Then, see an attorney who specializing in estate planning for more information.

Why Your Will Is So Important

Your will is a way to be sure all of your property will go to those relatives, friends, and organizations who you care about the most.  Without a will, the state will decide who gets what.

Are There Any Tax Advantages to Having a Will?

Yes. Even though the unlimited marital deduction eliminates estate taxes when your estate passes to a surviving spouse, that’s not the solution for other survivors.  However, you can take full advantage of estate tax savings by creating trusts through your will.

How Can I Set Up a Will That Benefits Most of the People?

We recommend that you obtain the professional counsel of a lawyer who specializes in probate and estate planning. If you’re considering a gift to the Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program, we’ll be glad to help you and your attorney design the best plan for your wishes, financial circumstances and tax concerns.