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Estate Planning: New Year’s Resolutions to Keep

With 2016 under way, many of us are eager to focus on changes we want to make in our lives and resolve to follow through on those changes.

A thorough review of your financial and estate plans is one of the key items to consider to ensure your and your family's well-being and peace of mind. 

Here is our recommended checklist for a healthy estate plan:

Review and update your existing will or trust.

If you die without a will, the state laws where you reside will determine how your property will be divided, and that may not be in line with your intentions. An outdated will may result in a similar problem. Reviewing your will or trust periodically ensures that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes.   

Prepare or update your power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney allows you to designate the person who can make necessary financial and legal decisions on your behalf. If an accident, serious health condition or declining mental capacity prevents you from being able to manage your own affairs, you and your wishes remain protected. You can also give a person a power of attorney only to make health care decisions for you, and this takes effect only if you are not able to make decisions for yourself.

Create or update your living will.

A living will is different from a health care power of attorney in that it gives you the opportunity to make choices about specific medical treatments that you do and do not want in the event you are unable to state your wishes. A living will expresses your intentions in advance, in case you should encounter unforeseen health conditions.

Determine the best retirement income strategy.

Discuss with your financial advisor the total percentage of retirement funds plus investment funds you should spend during the coming year to preserve your assets and minimize your tax liability. The IRA charitable rollover, for example, allows donors to transfer money from their IRAs directly to Rush without having to count the distribution as taxable income. Learn more about the IRA charitable rollover.

Review beneficiary designations for your life insurance, annuities and retirement accounts.

A beneficiary designation is an easy way to confirm which people and causes you would like to benefit from your proceeds. Once confirmed, these assets pass directly to your beneficiaries without having to go through probate.

Decide which organizations you would like to support, and include them in your estate plans.

It is easy to include a charitable bequest or beneficiary designation in your estate plans to establish a legacy that reflects your values and supports the causes that are most meaningful to you. 

Have you remembered Rush in your estate plans?

Please contact Susan Sasvari at (312) 942-3691 or susan_sasvari@rush.edu if you would like to include a legacy gift for Rush University Medical Center as part of your estate plans.

The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice.  We recommend that you consult your attorney or financial advisor to discuss your plans.


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