Never swim alone . . . always cross at the intersection . . . don’t text and drive. For the most part, rules exist for a reason, including some important rules governing estate planning.
Rule 1 — Don’t let the state write your will. You are entitled to have a will, living trust and other estate planning documents drafted by your attorney. If you don’t, state law will determine how your estate is distributed, and state rules don’t necessarily follow the pattern that is best for your family situation or for tax savings.
Rule 2 — Don’t include the tax collector in your estate plan. Estates in excess of $11.4 million are subject to federal estate tax; some states have estate and inheritance taxes that affect estates of much lower amounts. Remember that assets left to charity in a will, living trust or beneficiary designation can reduce estate and income taxes. This requires action on your part.
Rule 3 — Your estate gift to charity will help secure our future. Without the generous gifts received over the years, it would not be possible to continue our work. Your bequest is a message that you believe in our efforts and support our goals. It is also a reflection of your thoughtfulness.