Nothing Says I Love You Like a Current Estate Plan!

According to a 2021 Gallup poll, just 46 percent of U.S. adults have a will that describes how they want their financial assets and estate to be handled after their death. So what stops the other 44 percent? Many of them may not understand an estate plan, assuming it is expensive or just for older people.   Others may be relying on their assets being co-owned as default or have overlooked that their current documents are outdated. To help the public understand estate planning and why it is such a vital component of financial wellness, Congress established the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. So, what does an estate plan entail?

An Estate Plan is simply a written game plan for your loved ones. In it, you can designate your beneficiaries, how your assets will be divided, and who will be responsible for handling various aspects of your legacy. While no one likes to think of a life cut short at a young age, it can be happy for just about anyone. Therefore, almost everyone over the age of 18 should plan for the unexpected by at least having a living will/durable power of attorney for health care forms. These can be downloaded directly from the Ohio State Bar Association and Leading Age Ohio. Any additions or changes to your family are significant times to review your Estate Plan to ensure it stays up to date. It is often suggested that these plans be reviewed every three to five years.

In some of my recent conversations with new donors who named Community Foundation of Lorain County in their estate plans, they are not focusing on the sadness of the planning process. Preparing for whatever circumstances may arise in the future is yet another way of telling their loved ones, “I love you.” Instead of being stuck in a logistical nightmare, their loved ones will be more able to celebrate the donor’s life and legacy. In some cases, they have also felt that they have had more of a sense of control and the feeling of peace of mind.

We often talk about the power of endowments and how the impact of endowed gifts can last for unlimited generations. That power inspires donors to support the organizations they love by donating to Community Foundation in their estate plans.   Consider making a beneficiary designation to make a significant impact for the causes you support. In some cases, this can be as easy as designating Community Foundation as a beneficiary of an investment account, retirement account, checking or savings account, or insurance policy. You can allocate a percentage if you do not want to donate the entire asset and are still able to change your mind later if you wish.

Many donors have found our Estate Planning Guide helpful in this process. Please feel free to schedule a meeting with Laura Malone, Development Officer if you would like to learn more about your charitable options at Community Foundation.  We would be honored to help you maximize the benefits of giving to the causes that mean the most to you.

Questions about estate planning?