Take action now to write your will. It’s one of the most important documents you’ll ever sign.
Unfortunately, many people put them off, rely on them solely, attempt to write them on their own, fail to keep them updated or forget to inform loved ones where their wills are stored.
The Community Foundation of Jackson County hopes you might find the following tips and suggestions helpful as you consider making, or perhaps revising, your will. It’s an important document that can help ensure your wishes to help your family, your church and your favored causes and charities.
The worst thing you can do in creating a will is to procrastinate. We can keep waiting for a more convenient time, but the years have a way of slipping by. A will delayed is often one not done.
Now is the time — while you are able and capable — to write your will. For your sake, and that of your loved ones, write it now. It could also go a long way toward ensuring that the charities you support now continue to benefit from your generosity long into the future.
As an example, a Seymour couple recently took steps to prepare their estate plan. As a result, they established a donor advised fund at the foundation that will benefit their favorite local charities for the next two generations and beyond.
In another recent case, a Driftwood Township resident took steps to revise an existing will and set up several funds at the foundation that are providing grants to her church and to the community as a whole, providing funds for the fall grant cycle.
Short of establishing a fund, you can also ensure that your will can benefit your favorite charities by making bequests to any of the endowed funds administered by the foundation that make annual grants to local agencies. They include the Boys Girls Club, Girls Inc., the Foundation, Jackson County History Center, Jackson County Public Library and many others, including a number of churches.
Saving a few dollars by writing your own will or using a mass-produced generic form found online may not provide the peace of mind and confidence you and your family deserve. Nothing can replace the benefits of a face-to-face meeting with a good estate-planning attorney who asks the right questions and who knows how to draft a will that meets the specific laws of Indiana or your current state of residence.
Ask a trusted friend, your banker or accountant to recommend an attorney if you don’t have one.
Review, keep it fresh
One thing’s certain — things change. Children grow up. New laws are passed or tax codes changed, as we saw in December 2017 with passage of the new federal tax code. All can affect estate planning. New developments can occur regarding health issues and financial resources.
Frankly, an outdated will can create more problems for your survivors than it solves. The will you signed in 1970 or 1990 — or even in 2012 — might not be the best thing for your heirs and the charities you want to assist today. It’s a good idea to review your will annually. Make sure it does what you want done. Keep it current.
Share its location
A will is worthless unless it can be located and recorded at your death. Yet many people die with a “lost” will. Be sure to put it in a safe place, but also let someone else know where it can be found. Tell one or more loved ones or a trusted friend. Make sure someone knows where the original is kept.
A little foresight — and some action on your part — can spare your family added stress during their time of grief.
The Community Foundation of Jackson County wants you and your loved ones protected with a good, up-to-date estate plan, and we have an excellent estate planning guide to share with you. Call us or e-mail us — the guide is available at no cost or obligation. It can be a helpful guide when talking with your attorney. We’ll be happy to talk with you about your needs and your desires to help your favorite charities for generations to come.