A Stepping Stone Foundation now receives an increasing amount of its funding from planned giving. Constructing your will mindfully pays thoughtful attention to both your family and your legacy.
“A well-executed estate plan, first and foremost, helps ensure that you have provided for the well-being of your loved ones. It may also reduce taxes and probate costs, so that more of the fruit of your life’s labor goes where you want it to go, as opposed to leaving it to the government in the form of taxes. While your estate plan is typically comprised of various complex legal documents, it can also serve as a final message that reflects your personal values and leaves a lasting legacy by which your family and community will remember you.”
– from a Charles Schwab Company brochure on estate planning
The first priority in most estate planning is, naturally, family and loved ones. Most people first stipulate in their wills a dollar amount or percentage of the estate to go to each of their heirs. Since none of us know exactly what our estate will consist of when we leave this world, taking care of “family first” makes the most sense.
Beyond that, the most meaningful and lasting legacy of your life through your estate will be the causes that are most important to you and, ultimately, the people whose lives will be enriched through your purposeful giving.
As for charitable giving through your estate, the simplest and most common way to make a legacy gift that supports your favorite charity or charities is by an outright bequest of cash in your will.
In one short paragraph you simply name the charitable beneficiary and the amount of the gift – either a fixed cash bequest, or a certain percentage of your estate.
Your charitable bequest is fully deductible for purposes of federal estate taxes, and in most states is also exempt from any such taxes.
When you have reached the point in your will and/or Trusts planning where your chosen heirs are completely taken care of, you may find that you have other opportunities to further your charitable legacy. This can include such ideas as naming A Stepping Stone Foundation as beneficiary of the remainder of an IRA or 401(k) account, or as beneficiary on an existing life insurance policy.
For your heirs, and for the executor or personal representative of your estate, far and away the easiest things to manage and convert will be cash, cash equivalents, stocks, bonds, and the contents of brokerage accounts. But the more challenging and time-consuming tasks will involve the evaluation and liquidation of such diverse items as treasures in a safe deposit box or in your home that none of your heirs would have any use for.
Upon approval of the Board of Directors, A Stepping Stone Foundation would gladly accept any bequest of those types of valuables.
Your bequest, in whatever form it takes, will be put to work aiding the children and families in Arizona that need it the most.