Why Have a Will?
A will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. Think about the things a will enables you to do:
- A will lets you direct precisely who will receive all the property you have accumulated over your lifetime. Without a will, the state decides who receives what – all according to inflexible rules.
- Your will can contain a trust that provides financial security and money management for family members who need special assistance.
- Your will permits you to nominate the persons who will handle your estate or serve as guardians of children.
- Your will enables you to assist friends, worthwhile causes, institutions, and others that the state law omits.
- A skillfully drafted will can allow your family to minimize death taxes and other costs that may sap your estate of vital assets.
- Your will can be an expression of your personal values. You may wish to memorialize a special person in your life, aid an impoverished friend, or distribute cherished heirlooms to special people.
Executing a will is neither difficult nor expensive. Yet the rewards are great indeed, both in peace of mind and in personal satisfaction.
How to Get a Will
Obtaining a will is as simple as 1-2-3
- Call your attorney. Make an appointment to plan your will. If you do not have an attorney, ask a friend or a relative to recommend one, or call your local bar association.
- Prior to the appointment, sit down and write out all the goals you would like to accomplish through your will.
- Follow your will planning through to completion. Store your will in a safe place and examine it periodically to assure that it is up-to-date with your family needs and personal desires.
Planning a Will That is Practical… and Deeply Satisfying
Lakeview Ministries and the Camp Lakeview Foundation have received many bequests – gifts by will – from thoughtful people who considered it only fitting to provide us something from their estates. Their bequests were simply a continuation of the support they had provided for the camp throughout their lives. For these gifts, we are profoundly grateful. And it is satisfying to point out that in a well-planned will, the cost of a bequest to our future can be surprisingly modest.
Your bequest can be of a stated dollar amount, or you can leave us a specific property. Some of the benefactors prefer to bequeath a certain percentage of the “residue” (the amount that remains after paying all inheritance, debts, and costs). There are special arrangements by which your bequest can provide financial benefits to your family and later be used in the camp’s ministry.
Fourteen Reasons Why Your Will May Be Obsolete
If you already have a will, great! But is your will a vigorous, up-to-date, contemporary planning tool that is ready for duty when the time comes? Or does it belong in the Museum of Antique Documents?
Some people have wills that were originally drafted during the Truman administration. Without regular review and updating, such wills can create confusion and needless expense for surviving family member and friends.
Here are 14 events (there may be more) that usually require a modification of your will:
- Birth of a child or grandchild
- A child reaching adulthood
- Death of a spouse
- Increases in the value of your assets
- Acquisition of new assets by gift or inheritance
- Giving away or selling assets mentioned in your will
- Death of a beneficiary named in your will
- Changes in the needs of your beneficiaries
- An executor or trustee dies, moves, or becomes disabled
- You move to a different state
- Purchase or sale of real estate
- You decide to make additional bequests, such as a gift for the future support of Lakeview Ministries
Review Your Will Annually
You should take time at least once a year to review your will to assure that is up to date with your current needs and circumstances. New Year’s Day or your birthday can be a logical “review date.”
Ask your lawyer to look at your will every two or three years as well. Changes may occur in state or federal laws that could affect the taxation or distribution of your estate.
To make a small change, you may need only a “codicil.” This is simply an amendment that will preserve most of the provisions of your existing will. To make major changes, a complete new will (which specifically revokes all prior wills) may be preferable. Either way, you will need your attorney’s help.
If it does turn out that you need a codicil or new will, we hope you’ll consider one more satisfying change – a thoughtful bequest for the future of Lakeview Ministries. Your attorney will require our correct legal name, which is “South Central Lutheran Camp Association of Indiana, Inc.” We would be happy to furnish you with ideas for planning a bequest to benefit a particular program or purpose that may be most important to you.
Update Your Living Trust, Too
Many of our friends have revocable living trusts that will distribute most or all of their assets at death. These trusts also needs to be reviewed regularly just like a will.
People who have living trusts also need wills. Why? To name executors or guardians and to dispose of any assets that have not been transferred into their trusts before death. Remember that assets you acquire after setting up a living trust will not avoid probate unless they have been transferred into the trust.
Remember, too, that you can make the Lord’s work at Camp Lakeview one of the beneficiaries of your revocable living trust… a thoughtful “update”!
Leave Us Your “Tax-Cursed” Assets
As you review your estate plans, you may come across assets that will generate heavy tax burdens for your family. Such items may be subject to both income taxes and inheritance taxes, leaving heirs with only a fraction of their value. Examples include:
- U.S. savings bonds
- Accounts receivable of a doctor or proprietor
- Renewal commissions of insurance agents
- Payments due you under installment sale arrangements
- Royalties under a patent license
- IRA benefits and deferred compensation
As a tax-exempt organization, we would keep every dollar of such “tax-cursed property.” Furthermore, leaving these items to us will create estate tax charitable deductions that save even more taxes for your heirs. Call us if you have questions on planning any kind of gift.
Tell Us About Your Bequest
You do a wonderful service when you provide for our future in your will. Why not tell us about it? You can just call the camp office at 812-342-4815. We need to know of your plans so that we may make our own plans for the future of our ministry. Naturally, we would also like to be able to express our gratitude to you before it is too late.