Where there’s a WILL there’s a way…

November 20, 2017

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Can you believe it is already November? As the days get shorter and the leaves continue to fall, we think about the end of the calendar year and all of the things we hoped or planned to get done before year-end. What did you say you were going to do this year? Were you hoping to complete your long term plans? Planning beyond the next few months is something that many of us put off, but it is so important! What if something were to happen to you? How will you make sure your wishes are followed? Do you have a will? If so, when was the last time it was updated? Is it important to you to leave something for charity in your plans? Planning can (and should) be done whether you are in your 20s or your 90s.

There are many ways to plan for your future and take care of your community. Planning may include talking with a professional advisor (estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and/or accountant) and working in partnership with the Tidewater Jewish Foundation to explore how your Jewish community can be included in your planning.

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property/assets and the care of any minor children. Your will says a lot about you and your legacy. Does it show who and what you care about? Having a will shows that you want to help conserve your estate, which is comprised of all of the money and property you own, or your net worth. Taxes and probate costs can be avoided by designating what will go where and who will be responsible for handling the details. The cost savings that result from a carefully constructed estate plan means more of your estate can go to family members and other beneficiaries, such as charity.

Your will can also reflect your lifetime involvements and concerns. You can choose who receives the assets in your estate by making bequest(s) (the property or money that you promise in your will to give to another person or organization after you die). Bequests to family members tell of your love and concern for their welfare, while bequests to organizations speak volumes about your values.

You may think of your Jewish community as one of your children, something that you have cared for during your lifetime and want to see thrive for the next generation. Many options are available to consider when planning.

A charitable bequest is one option to ensure Jewish continuity through a simple codicil (amendment) to your will to benefit a synagogue, the Federation, or any of the affiliate agencies. This bequest may provide a specific cash gift, a percentage of your estate, or remaining estate assets. Bequests, like other gifts, can be designated for many purposes or given without restriction. Designating a bequest that creates a single fund at the Tidewater Jewish Foundation can provide annual support to various community agencies.

When Tidewater Jewish Foundation or any local affiliate agencies and synagogues are included in your will (or other estate planning document), you reveal that caring for others is important to you and your belief in securing the future of our Jewish community. Such action encourages those you leave behind to consider how they can help those in need. You reveal your vision for our future and you are actively creating your legacy.

You are never too young (or too old) to make and revise your future plans.

Contact your attorney or financial professional for guidance on how best to ensure your legacy. You may also contact Scott Kaplan, president and CEO of Tidewater Jewish Foundation at 757-965-6109 or skaplan@ujft.org to schedule a confidential conversation to explore how you can make a difference in your community and leave a lasting legacy.

- Scott Kaplan

Letter to the Editor