University of New Haven Gift Planning

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August: Make a Will Month - Securing Your Legacy

August is designated as "Make a Will Month," an annual campaign aimed at encouraging individuals to take the crucial step of creating a will. A will is a legal document that outlines how you wish your assets to be distributed after your passing, ensuring that your wishes are followed, and your loved ones are taken care of. The importance of making a will cannot be overstated, as it offers several benefits and allows you to leave a lasting legacy that extends beyond your lifetime.

The Importance of Making a Will:

  1. Control and Peace of Mind: By creating a will, you gain control over who inherits your assets and possessions. This provides peace of mind, knowing that your hard-earned wealth will be distributed according to your wishes.
  2. Protecting Your Loved Ones: A will allows you to provide for your family and loved ones even in your absence. You can ensure that they are financially secure and well taken care of.
  3. Avoiding Interstate Laws: Without a will, your estate may be subject to interstate laws, which vary from one jurisdiction to another. These laws might distribute your assets in a way that doesn't align with your intentions and may lead to disputes among family members.
  4. Appointing Guardianship: If you have children or dependents, a will enables you to designate guardians who will take care of them in case something happens to you and the other parent.
  5. Tax Planning: A well-crafted will can also help minimize estate taxes, preserving more of your assets for your beneficiaries.
  6. Supporting Charities and Causes: You can include charitable bequests in your will, contributing to causes close to your heart and making a positive impact even after you are gone.

Taking Care of Your Legacy:

Your will can address various aspects of your legacy, such as:

  1. Asset Distribution: Specify how your financial assets, real estate, investments, and personal possessions should be distributed among your beneficiaries.
  2. Digital Assets: Address the management and distribution of your online accounts, social media profiles, and digital files.
  3. Executor Appointment: Choose a trustworthy executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and managing the distribution of your assets.
  4. Funeral and Burial Wishes: Express your preferences for your funeral arrangements and the disposition of your remains.

Getting Started:

To create a will, follow these steps:

  1. Inventory Your Assets: List all your assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, and personal belongings.
  2. Identify Beneficiaries: Decide who will receive your assets, specifying their names and relationships clearly.
  3. Choose an Executor: Select a reliable individual to oversee the execution of your will.
  4. Consult an Attorney: Seek legal advice to ensure your will is legally binding and accurately reflects your wishes.
  5. Review and Update: Periodically review and update your will as life circumstances change.

Don't postpone creating your will. Take advantage of "Make a Will Month" and secure your legacy today!

For more information on estate planning and tools available, contact Lisa Wrubleski, Director of Planned and Major Gifts at New Haven University. You can reach her at [email protected] or call 860-478-2870.

Remember, a will is a fundamental step toward securing the future for your loved ones and ensuring your legacy lives on.