Planning your will

At the age of 57, Eleanor Roosevelt looked back on her life and wrote, “Somewhere along life’s way we discover what we truly are, and then make real decisions for which we are responsible.” The same is true about an individual’s will.

A will is a personal document that contains important decisions regarding basic estate planning. A properly worded will gives an individual the privilege of controlling the distribution of his or her estate. A person can designate the estate be used in a responsible way to support and protect those near and dear to them. Without a will, the estate is administered by the state’s intestate laws, and the desires an individual had regarding the distribution of his estate might not be accomplished.

Providing for our family and friends and for our favorite charity is our deepest instinct. To achieve this goal, care estate planning is of great importance.

An individual’s wish to include a charity, such as the Alabama Humanities Foundation, in the disposition of his estate cannot be achieved without a properly executed will.

It is always important to review your estate plans with legal and financial advisors every few years. If your net worth or martial status changed, or if your will was written when you resided in another state, it could be invalid. Any major change in family circumstances, such as the arrival of new children, should trigger a review. A will is never final until it takes effect. It can be revised or entirely rewritten during your lifetime.

Much thought and caution should be used in choosing an executor. Settling a sizeable estate is not a job for a novice. The complex task of settling even a moderate size estate requires dozens of action steps, decisions and protective measures. These steps must be completed before an executor can distribute the estate and render a final accounting.

Providing for our family and friends and for our favorite charity is our deepest instinct. To achieve this goal, care estate planning is of great importance. It is the failure to act, not the lack of an opportunity, that is the major obstacle. It takes a lifetime to build an estate. It is certainly worth the time to plan the preservation of it, ensuring that it will be available for future generations.

Charitable gift planning as a part of estate planning can be a most satisfying and personally rewarding experience. It can also offer significant tax advantages. If you have a question about how to plan your estate or if you would like to include the Alabama Humanities Foundation in your gift plans, contact me at (205) 558-3992 or plawson@ahf.net.

Written by: Paul L.