Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

Learn the facts about planned giving at our once-a-month giving blog, brought to you by the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC.

Every person who owns assets should have, at a minimum, a Last Will and Testament (Last Will).  Some people, however, will choose a Living Trust as their primary planning document for a variety of reasons.  These reasons can include estate tax concerns, probate avoidance concerns, asset protection concerns, pet trust planning concerns, and charitable giving concerns just to name a few.

Wills and Trusts are the cornerstone of any comprehensive estate plan. Creating a plan that provides for loved ones, including pets and favorite charities, is the reason to do estate planning in the first place.   Remembering the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando in your estate plan will help ensure your legacy will continue into the future.  You can have the personal satisfaction of helping these animals long after your lifetime.

Your lifetime or testamentary gift to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is fully deductible for purposes of federal estate taxes. And, while reducing or even eliminating estate taxes is an admirable goal, your gift can also be used to establish a lasting tribute to a person or pet you wish to honor and remember.

By making a planned gift to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, your beneficiaries may receive a larger net benefit after tax estate.  Ask yourself the following question, “Would you consider a charitable gift as an alternative to paying income or estate tax?”  If the answer is “Yes,” work with a qualified estate planning professional to ensure your wishes are honored and your goals are achieved.

Bequest (The “I Can Give” Gift)

How it works:

  • You can provide now for a future gift to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando by including a bequest provision in your Will or Revocable Trust.
  • You can name the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando as a beneficiary of a retirement plan (IRA, 401k), annuity or life insurance policy.  For tax deferred investments, you’ll avoid both the income tax consequences and get a charitable estate tax deduction.

Benefits:

  • Your assets remain in your control during your lifetime
  • You can modify your bequest if your circumstances change
  • You can direct your bequest to a particular purpose (be sure to check with the Pet Alliance to make sure your gift can be used as intended)
  • There is no upper limit on the estate tax deductions that can be taken for charitable bequests
  • You can have the satisfaction of knowing that your bequest will support the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando in the way you intend after you are gone

Contact the Pet Alliance if you are interested in including us in your Will or Revocable Trust.

 

Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Learn the facts about planned giving at our once-a-month giving blog, brought to you by the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC.

You need an estate plan because everyone dies. If you don’t have an estate plan, the State of Florida has one for you. “I don’t have anything.” Often, this is the response when a conversation about estate planning starts. The truth is that you have more than you think.

First, you probably have people and pets you love.  In addition, you may have a home, some financial assets, a retirement plan, possibly a life insurance policy or annuity and some personal property. Everyone has someone or something they need to plan for. Many people believe an “estate plan” is simply having a will, but it’s more expansive than that.

You might be surprised to learn that most estate plans don’t work. If you’ve ever heard someone say about a loved one who passed away, “Boy if they only knew what was going on, they would be rolling over in their grave!” then you’ve experienced the classic expression regarding an estate plan that didn’t work. Something went wrong. What that something was could be any one of a variety of things–perhaps an unwanted probate, unexpected taxes, unintended beneficiaries, unequal distributions, business succession issues, family hostility, and the list goes on.

A primary goal of estate planning should be to create a plan that works–for you and for your loved ones. No two families are alike and as a result, no two plans will ever be alike.  Estate planning is not for the faint of heart and should never be left to a form found online–there are too many unexpected and potentially devastating consequences. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no boilerplate “one size fits all” when it comes to estate planning.

Estate planning implicates many other areas of the law. These can include family law, real estate law, banking law, homestead law, guardianship law, probate and trust administration law, tax law, asset protection law and contract law, to name a few.  Unless you’re an expert in each of these areas of the law and know how they affect you and your family, then getting a professional on your team will increase the likelihood of creating a plan that will work the way YOU want.

Your estate plan should be designed to accomplish a variety of goals.  What are your goals?  Provide for your family, your pets, your favorite charity?  Avoiding probate and minimizing taxes are admirable goals too, but they shouldn’t be your only goal.  Protecting your loved ones and making sure your assets are distributed when, how and to whom you want should be a central focus.  Remember, it’s your money, your loved ones, and your wishes and goals.

The best course of action starts with working with a qualified legal professional who has expertise and experience in estate planning and elder law–and someone who will listen, answer your questions and help you understand how your plan will work. Only then can you have certainty that your plan has the greatest probability of success.

To include the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando as part of your estate plan, work with a qualified estate planning professional and contact us for more information on our specific giving programs.  Your contribution, during your lifetime and at death, is tax deductible.  We are a 501c3 charity and we rely on the generosity of people like you to continue our work to provide for the people and pets in our community.