What does an estate plan do?
An estate plan simply ensures your assets are distributed, and debts are paid, in accordance with your wishes after you die. Categorically, there are five possible beneficiaries of your estate’s property:
- Spouse, children and/or family
- Creditors to whom you owe money
- Charitable organizations
- The Internal Revenue Service in the form of taxes
Your estate plan allows you to choose what proportion of your property you want distributed to any of these beneficiaries.
You should always work with an attorney specializing in trust and estate matters to establish your plan. He or she will help you solidify the plan’s basic elements.
What many don’t realize is your estate can support a charitable cause. For example, you can direct that your executor – the person you name to carry out the provisions of your will—establish a scholarship at UIC, or support research in an area of importance.
Who should have an estate plan?
Anyone who owns property, and especially anyone who has children, should have one.
What if I don’t have an estate plan?
If you die without a will, your state’s intestacy laws take effect. This means the state in which you live determines to whom your assets are given, without input from your loved ones. This can be especially detrimental for your surviving spouse or if you want your estate to support people or charities beyond your immediate heirs.
How do I make an estate gift to UIC?
It’s called a charitable bequest, and it’s incredibly easy. A charitable bequest can be cash or a percentage of the remainder of your estate. It can be real estate or items of personal property. Here are some steps:
- Ask your attorney to prepare a codicil (or addition) to your will or an amendment to your revocable trust.
- If you’re married, your spouse should amend his or her will or revocable trust also.
- If your gift is from an IRA or a life insurance policy, simply change your beneficiary designation.
- Alert the institution of your intention. At UIC, we’ll help you determine exactly what you want your gift to do (which college or department to support, whether your gift is to be restricted or unrestricted and whether it will create an endowment or be current use).
Where can I learn more?
UIC offers these helpful booklets:
- Planning Your Will – How to Make it More Personal and Effective
- Six Steps to an Effective Will
- Charitable Bequests – How to Get the Most Out of Yours
- Opportunities for Making Charitable Bequests
- Frequently Asked Questions-Bequests
To request a booklet or for more information about estate gifts contact Anita Ridge via email or at 312-413-8746.