SIGMA CHI FOUNDATION
ESTATE PLANNING GUIDE
A good estate plan makes your intentions clear. Estate planning is the process of determining the most effective way to transfer your assets to both your heirs and your charitable interests. Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just for the rich or older people, and it's never too early to begin. Estate planning can seem like a daunting task, so following are some simple steps to help you get started.
- Prepare an Inventory of your assets
The list should contain:
- All of your assets, along with their current value and title (specify whether they are held in your name, jointly or, in certain states, as community property)
- Your spouse's assets, if applicable
- Your debts and liabilities with specifics
- Your life insurance policies, indicating the insured, owner and beneficiary
- Detailed information about deferred compensation, i.e., a 401(k), including the name of your beneficiary
- Your intended estate beneficiaries, listing your chosen relatives and charitable organizations, such as Sigma Chi Foundation
- The location of your important papers, i.e., your will, securities and other valuable documents
- Update Your Will
Make sure your will specifies your intentions. Having a will in place creates tax-saving opportunities. If you do not have a will, state law will divide your estate according to a rigid formula that's unlikely to reflect your wishes. You can name the Sigma Chi Foundation in your will by using the following:
"I give, devise and bequeath to the Sigma Chi Foundation, an Internal Revenue Code section 501 (c)(3) charitable and educational Corporation (Federal I.D. #36-2208386) incorporated in the State of Colorado, [$ amount or ____%] of my estate/trust for its unrestricted use and purpose."
- Pick Your Team
- Executor - This is the person you name to carry out the terms of your will. Choose someone who will be comfortable dealing with your finances and investments, taxes and record keeping. Also, consider this person's availability, general health and diplomacy.
- Guardian - If you have minor children, you should name a guardian of each child's property in case your spouse doesn't qualify or doesn't survive you. Otherwise, the court must appoint someone and you may not approve of the choice.
- Agent for durable power of attorney - Choose someone to act on your behalf in financial matters if you become unable to manage your own affairs.
- Agent for health care power of attorney- This person makes health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them.
- Lower Estate Taxes
Your estate planning professional will undoubtedly suggest important ways to avoid paying unnecessary taxes. Contributions to charitable organizations such as the Sigma Chi Foundation are generally tax exempt.
- Sharing Your Estate Plans
Talking about the plans you've made for your own possible medical care, the distribution of your estate, and even for your burial or memorial service can be uncomfortable. But it can also prevent unnecessary grief for your loved ones later. When you communicate your desires to your family and friends, you relieve them of the burden of making decisions at what will be a trying time in their lives. That's why it's often important to share with them the contents of relevant estate planning documents. Review these areas:
- Your Will - Plan to discuss in a general way what your will provides, keeping in mind that changes may be made in the future. You might explain any charitable inclinations you have that are reflected in your will. At a minimum, point out where your will and other important papers can be found, and give the names of your executor and attorney.
- Durable Power of Attorney - This instrument authorizes a person you choose to sign your name to checks, legal papers, tax returns and other documents. If you become incapacitated, this person can manage your finances. If you've already designated someone, decide if your family should know your choice.
- Trust Plans - Assets you put in a trust can avoid probate and benefit your spouse, your children, other heirs or even a charitable organization, like the Sigma Chi Foundation, after your lifetime. You may find it beneficial to discuss any trust agreements in general terms with your family.
- Life-prolonging Procedures - Do you have strong feelings about the use of artificial or extraordinary methods to extend your life? If your state recognizes a 'living will,' discuss this with your attorney. In any event, let your family know how you feel.
If you have named Sigma Chi Foundation in your estate plan, please let us know so that we may properly recognize you in the James Parks Caldwell Society.
Remembering Sigma Chi in your estate planning brings tax benefits while having a meaningful impact on our mission beyond your lifetime and far into the future. Read More