When it comes to estate planning, most people consider a solid estate plan the business of experts, rather than financial planning on their own behalf. The fact is more than 60 percent of Americans do not have a valid will. Indeed, those who die intestate (without a will), leave their loved ones with a complicated mess. Without an estate trust or will, a person cannot directly transfer valuable assets to family heirs and designated charities at the end of their life. Formation of a will is assurance that loved ones are not subject to lengthy probate proceedings, and the decedent’s philanthropic intent is a legacy memorialized in perpetuity.
LegacyPlanner™ is the online will solution for planned giving specialists and their clients offered by PlannedGiving.com.
Deductible tax incentive gives reason for legacy gift transfer to a charity.
It is undeniable a good estate plan helps one prepare for the future and manage the present. Estate planning can begin with simply writing a will, but it can also involve trusts, changing beneficiaries of life insurance policies and retirement accounts, selecting guardians for minor children, providing lifetime income for the testator and others, as well as passing on business interests, minimizing taxes and other estate settlement costs, and leaving a legacy donation to designated charitable beneficiaries.
Laws of intestacy guiding estate law rules of distribution from a trust or will in the circumstance where a decedent has not made the decision to establish a planned giving strategy in advance, do not permit arbitrary designation of assets and property for a charitable recipient. We agree a little informed preparation goes a long way. Our suite of planned giving tools supports the marketing of bequests and other capacity building activities working synergistically with LegacyPlanner™.
LegacyPlanner™ online will formation, is often the difference between deciding how assets will benefit an estate owner while still alive, loved ones, a favorite charity, or the alternative of probate court. We help planned giving specialists and their donor clients to get started on planning a charitable legacy according to their own plan
Simply stated, a good estate plan is one that guarantees all the testator’s wishes will be faithfully executed, provides them with peace of mind, and ensures that their beneficiaries enjoy the legacy they worked so hard to build. A good estate plan depends entirely on the individual’s needs and desires.
A good estate plan can:
Virtually everything a person owns or controls can be subject to estate, inheritance, gift, and generation–skipping taxes, which substantially reduce what they pass on to their heirs. The new tax laws have moved the dial on federal estate tax. If the value of a taxable estate is less than the federal estate tax exemption at the time of one’s death, it will not be taxed by the federal government ($11,200,000/individual, and rising beginning in 2018 through 2025). But for estates valued over that amount, creative estate planning can avoid or minimize tax liabilities. Keep in mind that many states still have an estate or inheritance tax on distributions to non-charitable heirs.
Estate planning isn’t just for rich people or older people. Everyone should do it.
Planned giving specialists acknowledge, estate planning is usually not a do-it-yourself project. Many estate owners who are also charitable donors, prefer to get started by themselves, waiting until they’re finished drafting a will before having it reviewed by a lawyer. This underscores the importance of self-volition in the estate planning process.
Regardless of perils along the way, clients often elect to prepare estate, trust, and will documents prior to consultation with a professional. A full-service suite of online will creation tools, LegacyPlanner™ is also an interim solution for someone with complex estate requirements.
LegacyPlanner™ provides both planned giving specialists and individual clients the benefit of will creation in a user-friendly web-based context without the confusion of elaborate legal language. Our product is an attorney-vetted, will maker that’s free for the donor and guides them through a simple yet them through the complete process of will documentation.
PlannedGiving.com’s expert support features assist clients in with will writing as it is meant to be done.
Estate planning can be as simple as writing a will and completing the documents that address income, medical needs, and care for minor relatives — or it can be a more complicated process, involving trusts, business interests, and more. Either way, LegacyPlanner™ assists charitable donors in drafting a legacy to be remembered. It can be used to complete a simple, legal will — or as a tool to get organized before a visit to a professional. LegacyPlanner™ contains all the documents, instructions, and tools to:
Although a will is the essential estate planning tool, it is not, as most people believe, carved in stone. A will may reflect one’s written intentions for the disposition of an estate, but there are other legal documents that may override the will:
LegacyPlanner™ planner is a comprehensive suite of online tools and forms for creation of estate planning documents.
The need for expert advice is helpful. Consult a planned giving specialist or licensed attorney specializing in estate law if you feel you need more help.
Writing a will is well worth the investment of time whether you do it yourself or with an expert. For dealing with estate and inheritance taxes, probate with assets in more than one state, and/or setting up any kind of a trust, an attorney is a must. Both federal and state estate laws change frequently. Finding an attorney who specializes in estate and probate law is advisable.
Finding an attorney to prepare an estate plan is a matter of their expertise, as well as the testator’s own comfort level. Much of the estate planning process is up-close and personal, regarding family business or confidential information, and one should feel comfortable discussing this information with a planner. Estate attorneys can be found via an internet search, the Yellow Pages, and by asking friends and colleagues for recommendations. The local Bar Association may also provide names and recommendations.
The cost of a basic estate plan can run between $500 and $3,500 depending on the complexities involved. A basic trust plan may run between $2,500 and $4,500, possibly more, depending on the size of the estate and the complexities involved. A good estate planning attorney will offer a consultation and will then provide an engagement letter with an estimate of the plan’s cost. This is a highly specialized area requiring the help of a competent, experienced individual.
Affirmation of estate planning and will priorities, gets the ball rolling.
For more information about our planned giving marketing tools and LegacyPlanner™, or to learn how you can help your donors care for loved ones and invest in their legacy, call us.
With the advent of online software application will creation tools, planned giving specialists and individuals seeking independent formation of advance directives, the rules and administrative process behind end-of-life personal financial planning became more transparent. The introduction of PlannedGiving.com’s web-based product has made creation of a written will simple, rather than daunting as before.
LegacyPlanner™ works more effectively than other online will applications because it’s seamlessly integrated as part of our planned giving websites. The application is also a learning environment, that educates the donor about the importance of an estate plan, while also showing them the transformational power of a gift to a charitable organization.
Estate Planning content and filler articles for your newsletters.
Are you curious about the proliferation of online will makers? Wondering if utilizing one is the right move? Find out what PlannedGiving.Com CEO Viken Mikaelian thinks in a straight-talk Q&A. He answers questions about their sudden popularity (they’ve been around for more than 20 years, after all), whether nonprofits should offer them at all or just advise donors to visit an attorney, and more.
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