Planned Giving Guidance

Why the All-Important Will Is Only One Part of Your Complete Estate Planning Package



Lady Leaves Body

As a woman leaves her physical body at the moment of her Great Departure, she is received by her guardian devas in her astral body. She is happy that her personal and financial affairs are properly settled, thanks to the estate planning tool kit that advised and guided her.


With fuel and food prices sky high, it’s natural for a family to think about its future financial security. The last place you might think to look for help in such matters is a Hindu monastery. But, in addition to spiritual direction, monasteries around the world offer practical guidance to help stabilize society during changing times. Many of you have supported Kauai’s Hindu Monastery for years, and we in turn are available to help. That is one reason we are happy to provide a free, clear and sound Estate Planning Tool Kit.

A good estate plan will not make high prices lower. But it will protect your family from unnecessary court costs, attorney fees and taxes. One of the most basic but misunderstood estate planning tools is the will. Many people think a will avoids probate, the costly court process that supervises the distribution of wealth to others at death. No, probate cannot be avoided. Your will is a ticket to probate court. Think of your will as a letter to the judge, telling him or her who gets your estate. The judge supervises distribution following your will, making sure the right people get the right things.

Some think the executor of their will can step in and manage their assets if they are too ill to do so themselves. This is not so either. The executor has no power until after the maker of the will has passed on. Some think wills can direct who gets everything they own. Not so. Some assets such as life insurance and retirement plans indicate who gets what through their own beneficiary designations. Wills cannot simply overriwde these designations.

Despite the limitations imposed on wills listed above, and other as well, such as costs, delay, and wills’ public nature, nonetheless, a will is a blessing for a family who would otherwise watch helplessly as the court distributes their loved one’s estate according to an impersonal formula that might have little to do with the decedent’s wishes. This is why a will is usually the first document people think of when drafting an estate plan. Even so, 58 percent of adult Americans don’t have one according to a new survey from lawyers.com. Here are two other interesting statistics from the survey’s findings:

• 18 percent of Americans experience problems due to the lack of or flawed estate plan after the death or incapacitation of a loved one.

• nearly eight percent of Americans without an estate plan say they do not have one because they do not want to think about dying or incapacity.

Most attorneys encourage their clients to consider a living trust, a power of attorney for property management, an advance health care directive and a will. These are all topics covered in our Estate Planning Tool Kit. Strengthen your family’s future and continue to support Kauai’s Hindu Monastery by requesting your Estate Planning Tool Kit today. Contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012, x 244 or write to hhe@hindu.org to receive it by e-mail. Learn more about estate planning and planned giving at www.hheonline.org.

 
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