Plan Your Legacy Today—A True Gift from the Heart

Did you know over 50% of Americans do not have a will?
August is Make-A-Will month. This annual observance is gaining more and more attention every year because creating a will is one of the smartest ways to prepare for the inevitable—no matter your age, health, or financial situation. Doing so protects your loved ones, your assets, and can even create a legacy for the causes you care most about. In fact, one of the most powerful ways to support Heart of Indiana United Way and Madison County is by including a legacy gift in your will.
Making a will is all about making a plan for what happens upon your death. It is a plan for who will care for minor children and pets, a plan to minimize family disputes, a plan to protect an unmarried partner, a plan for how you want your assets distributed. When someone passes away without a will in place, it is known as “dying intestate.” This means the state will decide how to distribute assets—which may not align with your wishes and could create unnecessary complications for your loved ones.
A will allows you to appoint an executor—someone who will be responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out. A will also gives you peace of mind knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to provide for your loved ones and that your wishes will be respected after you are gone.
Your will also allows you to leave a portion of your estate or specific assets to the charitable causes you care most about. Supporting your favorite nonprofits through your will is a thoughtful way to leave a lasting impact on the causes that matter most to you. You can select charities that align most with your values and have a positive impact on your community.
Through a will, you can also specify what your charitable contribution will be—whether you want to donate a percentage of your total assets, a specific dollar amount, or even specific assets such as property or investments. You can ensure your bequest is more structured and extends into the future by setting up a charitable trust. There are even giving options that allow you to see the impact of a charitable bequest to a nonprofit during your lifetime—which then mitigates capital gains impacts to your heirs. And for assets not covered in your will like 401-Ks, IRAs, and life insurance policies you can designate a nonprofit, like Heart of Indiana United Way, as a beneficiary.
For large estates and complex situations, consulting with a legal professional and possibly a financial advisor will help ensure your will and charitable trust are current and comply with Indiana laws. If leaving a legacy through a charitable bequest is right for you, United Way stands ready to show you how your support can make a big impact right here in Madison County and across the Heart of Indiana.
Even if your estate is small or you are a lower income household—making a will is still critical, especially if you have children or are in a single-headed household. Heart of Indiana United Way has a free resource through FreeWill to help you outline your wishes in as little as 20 minutes. Find out more about FreeWill and get started at www.heartofindiana.org/freewill.
Protect your loved ones and ensure your wishes are fulfilled upon your passing. Prepare or update your will today.