Advanced age is not a requirement for preparing a will. Instead, benefits are available from planning your estate at any age.
In our 20s and 30s as we are working to improve our standard of living and raise our families, having a will that names a guardian for the children will safeguard their future. You should also assess your insurance needs to provide for college, mortgage satisfaction and other large future expenses.
In our 40s, 50s and 60s, preparing a will also makes us look ahead to retirement and determine how to accumulate enough to live comfortably then.
Your favorite charitable or educational organization may be able to assist you in appropriate retirement planning that will yield income tax savings now, especially if you have "maxed out" the contributions that can be made to a qualified plan through your employment already. You can make a gift of cash, appreciated securities or other assets now and receive income at a later time, such as during retirement, from a "charitable IRA."
The gift yields an income tax charitable deduction now to lower your taxes.
Use of appreciated assets to make the gift will also allow you to avoid taxes on the long-term capital gain, which are 15 percent of the gain. Also, 100 percent of the assets' value will be generating income for you. If you donate stocks that have low dividend yields, the income available could actually be higher than the dividends.
This tax deductible "charitable IRA," in combination with employment-related plans, a Roth IRA and possibly commercial annuities, can assure you of a good level of retirement income to supplement your Social Security payments. At the same time, you have provided future support for an organization you consider worthy of your assistance.
That's good planning.
Deborah Miller is the director of planned giving for the West Virginia Foundation.