Planned Giving

4 Insider Tips From a Will Planning Attorney

Proper planning includes involving the right people. Here’s why an attorney is a vital partner in your will planning process.

1. I already have a will, so I’m all set, right?

Not necessarily. Unlike antiques and wine, a will doesn’t improve with age. Many things in your life might have changed since you first created your will—a divorce or remarriage, a new child or grandchild, revised tax laws, a move to another state or valuable new assets.

Your Attorney’s Role
An estate planning attorney can help you determine if it’s time to breathe new life into your outdated will and can make recommendations for updating it based on your current circumstances.

2. The internet can help me write my will for free. Why should I pay for the services of an estate planning attorney?

Do-it-yourself will kits may be widely available online, but there are no safeguards to ensure that they’re accurate and that the generated documents are implemented correctly. There’s more to writing a will than just filling in the blanks.

Your Attorney’s Role
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you protect your assets, minimize taxes and find the best ways to provide for your loved ones and the organizations that you support, such as Houston Public Media.

3. I just finished writing and updating my will. Planning done?

Not so fast. Your will doesn’t cover everything in your estate. The beneficiary designation forms for your retirement plan and life insurance policies dictate who will receive these assets. Keep your beneficiaries up to date so that your assets end up with your intended recipients.

Your Attorney’s Role
As part of the will planning process, your attorney will review these accounts to ensure that they coordinate with your overall plans.

4. Houston Public Media is important to me. How can I continue to support this work after my lifetime?

Including Houston Public Media in your plans is a thoughtful way to invest in the future of our mission. It’s also your opportunity to give voice to the values you live your life by.

Your Attorney’s Role
There are many ways to remember Houston Public Media in your will or other financial plans. Your attorney can help you find the gift that best meets your family’s needs and charitable goals.

We’re Here to Help

In addition to providing peace of mind, your will and other financial plans provide a flexible way to support a cause that’s close to your heart. To learn how you can give a gift that changes lives at our organization, contact Courtney Lamm at 713-743-8410 or clamm@houstonpublicmedia.org.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Houston Public Media a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give, devise, and bequeath to the University of Houston, located at 4800 Calhoun, Houston TX 77204 (federal tax ID no. 74-6001399) (Cash Bequest) the sum of ________ dollars ($_______). (Stock Bequest) _______ shares of stock of _______________ Corporation. (Percentage of Estate) ______percent (____%) of my estate. (Residuary Bequest) the remainder of my estate. I request this bequest be used by the University for the direct support of Houston Public Media for the specific purpose of: _________________________________.

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Houston Public Media or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support to expand minds and possibilities with trusted information and quality entertainment.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Houston Public Media as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Houston Public Media as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Houston Public Media where you agree to make a gift to Houston Public Media and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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