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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Make a Difference

It is commonplace for many of us to avoid estate planning for a whole host of reasons, including avoidance or procrastination, the belief that it is strictly for older adults or those with lots of money or property, or simply because we don’t know where to start. We can start by writing a will.

While it is just one of several legal documents you might consider, a will is the centerpiece of any estate plan. There are many online resources for writing a will and estate planning attorneys are increasingly offering remote will drafting services that make the process quicker and more convenient.

Say who will oversee the execution of your estate plan.

It is important to appoint an executor/executrix — and ideally a back-up – whom you trust to carry out your wishes.

Name guardians for your children – and pets.

For children or dependents under 18, you can appoint legal guardians. You can also use your will to have a say in who will look after your furry friends if they outlive you.

Provide for your loved ones.

Making a will allows you to define how your assets will be distributed – and to whom – upon your death. Articulating your final wishes through your will can also spare your loved ones from having to fill in the blanks during a time of grieving when you are gone.

Support your favorite charities.

You can use your will to direct bequest gifts to your favorite charitable causes. This is a simple and straightforward way to define your charitable legacy and make a lasting difference for future generations.

Support your community.

A growing number of community members are recognizing the importance of keeping their charitable dollars in Central New York as wealth transfer projections predict unprecedented levels of wealth passing from one generation to the next, much of it leaving our community to heirs living out of town. This kind of boost could provide a permanent source of funding for local organizations and causes that will greatly improve the lives of our friends and neighbors.

Everyone leaves a legacy and what we do today will impact how we are remembered in the future. We may not be able to control who lives or dies, but we can control who tells our story. We can tell our own story and even help write the epilogue – by passing down our values to children and grandchildren, by sharing our personal and family histories and life lessons, and by leaving meaningful and lasting gifts to loved ones, community and charity.

To learn more about options for preserving your charitable legacy, contact Jan Lane at jlane@cnycf.org or visit 5forCNY.org.

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