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Plan Your Legacy: Make 2021 the Year You Write Your Will
Consider “finally write my will” as one of your New Year's resolutions—and take advantage of BCRF’s free tool to make the process easy
Right now, as many as two-thirds of Americans do not have a will—the cornerstone legal document of estate plans of any size. Like going to the dentist or cleaning out your junk drawer, will-writing is a task that is easy to put off.
A new year is the perfect excuse to make changes, live more healthfully (including adopting new habits to reduce your risk of breast cancer), and plan for the future. If you still need to write a will and start your estate plans, 2021 could be the year you finally get it done.
Here, we’ve rounded up useful tips, checklists, and tools to start your will—including advice on how to make a charitable impact in your estate plans.
What is a will and do I need one?
In simple terms, a will (also known as a last will and testament) is a legal document that outlines your after-life wishes for your assets—essentially, who gets what and how much. For parents, a will also typically outlines who will act as a guardian for their dependent children. When you write a will, you save your family time, money, and stress in the event of your passing, and you ensure that those unique-to-you wishes are carried out—not decided by probate courts.
Though it can be difficult to think about your after-life plans and discuss them with loved ones—especially if you’re undergoing treatment for breast cancer—everyone, no matter the size of your estate, benefits from writing a will.
Why you should consider leaving a donation in your will
For many people, a will is also an opportunity to give back to causes you care about through charitable gifts. By leaving a bequest to charity, for example, you designate a dollar amount or percentage of your assets to donate. Additionally, charitable donations in your will or trust can come with tax benefits for your heirs and estate.
A donation in your will is a gift that costs you nothing in your lifetime—but can make a tremendous impact in the future. When you make a bequest to BCRF in your will, for example, you help the Foundation provide our 275 investigators the sustained, unrestricted support that’s essential to innovation. You fuel the years - and decades-long research that leads to lifesaving breakthroughs.
There are several ways to include nonprofits like BCRF in your plans depending on the size and complexity of your estate. An easy way to make a donation in your will is through a charitable bequest. It’s as easy as adding the following language into your estate plans:
I give to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, located in New York, NY, federal tax identification number 13-3727250, ________% of my total estate (or $_____).
How to write a will
People put off writing a will because they think it’s a long, complicated, and expensive process—but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a straightforward estate (one that isn’t large enough to trigger estate taxes, for example), you can even write your will online.
Through BCRF’s partnership with FreeWill, you can not only write your will in just 20 minutes for no charge, but also easily include a charitable bequest and other after-life wishes. FreeWill even guides users through the process of making their wills legally valid in the states where they live. And if your estate is more complicated, you can still tap into FreeWill’s tools and use them to help you work out a set of wishes to take to your attorney’s office as a starting point.
- After you’ve written your will, you may need to complete a few more documents to get your estate plans squared away. FreeWill has a checklist of essential estate planning documents to consider here.
- To help you form your legacy giving plans, BCRF offers this handy checklist online. You can also download a printable version.
- If you are interested in exploring other ways to make a legacy gift such as charitable gift annuities, charitable lead trusts, beneficiary designations, and more, click here.
- If you have any questions about including BCRF in your plans, call us at 646-497-2680 or email email@example.com.