Planning key to financial wellness, making lasting impact

According to the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, estate planning is an often overlooked element of financial wellness. It is estimated that more than half of Americans — 56 percent — do not have an up-to-date plan.

“The purpose of estate planning is to develop a strategy that will maintain your financial security during your lifetime and ensure the intended transfer of property and assets at death,” the NAEPC website states. “One does so while taking into consideration the unique circumstances of their family and the potential costs of different planning instruments.”

Having a plan is also an incredibly effective way to make a lasting impact on your favorite charitable causes and organizations. There are several ways you can leave your legacy through the Hancock County Community Foundation, either by working with a professional or simply naming an endowment fund as a beneficiary. Working with the foundation to create a charitable fund is a very simple process and costs nothing. You can name a fund as you choose or give to a fund that already exists. With more than 270 funds stewarded by HCCF, there’s likely an organization or cause that stands to benefit from your planned thoughtfulness.

Charitable bequests

The simplest and most common way to leave your legacy is to designate a gift or percent of your estate to set up or give to an existing endowment fund.

Life insurance policies

Whether it’s a policy you already have but no longer need or a new policy you buy for the specific purpose of naming a fund(s) as beneficiary, a gift of life insurance can be advantageous to both you and the organization(s) named in your endowment fund.

Retirement plan assets

Qualified retirement plans are expensive assets to pass on to our children; they carry a significant income tax liability and can also be eroded by estate taxes. Naming a fund at HCCF as the beneficiary of your retirement plan might reduce or avoid federal estate and income taxes.

Stocks/bonds/securities

Your gifts of stocks, bonds, and other property may provide significant tax benefits. If you sell appreciated property, you will pay considerably higher income taxes; however, if that same property is gifted, you may deduct the full value while avoiding the higher tax on the gain.

The one thing that outlives us all is the legacy we leave behind. Planning is the key to successfully ensuring that the right tools are in place. As we near the end of the year, if you have not already done so, join those who have taken the steps to care for their family and the charitable causes they care about. HCCF would be honored to help you do so.