Nebraska Community Foundation’s Director of Gift Planning says now is a good time to make a will, and to include gifts for charities you care most about, which could include your hometown.
“There are two major aspects to my job,” NCF Director of Gift Planning Todd Mekelburg said.
“First, I work with the 1,500 volunteers associated with our communities here in Nebraska. What they do is they are trying to raise awareness of planned giving around the state. For example, one thing they have done is bring together a group of CPA’s or attorneys. I will come in and talk to that group about charitable gift planning, and how it might benefit their clients. I will also talk to the individual. I’ll sit down with an individual or family, and talk to them about their situation, and how charitable gift planning might play a role in their estate plans.”
Mekelburg says making a will is a great New Year’s resolution, and there are some reasons for that. “It can really take the stress off of your family,” Mekelburg said. “And, it’s your way of leaving a legacy.” Planned giving is really being intentional about what you want to do with your estate. “It’s the process of sitting down, making decisions about the best way to structure a gift that will support both your family as well as your charities,” Mekelburg said.
Many may wonder how to use a will to make a planned gift. “Obivously you need to work with your attorney on the specifics of how to make this work, but there are two ways to make this happen,” Mekelburg said. “One is, in your will, you can leave a specific amount to a charity of your choice. The most common way is people will leave a percentage of their estate.” When it comes to making a will, it’s important to have a team on board. “That usually involves your attorney, your CPA, and your financial advisor might all be involved in that discussion,” Mekelburg said. “You just need to sit down with your team, go over your circumstances, and figure out your goals and objectives. The message we’d like to leave with everyone is to consider this as an impactful way of making a charitable gift,” Mekelburg. “You support these charities during your lifetime. This is your way to make a real impact on those charities.”
If you’d like more information on how to make planned gifts, and how to make a will, a good starting point is the NCF website, which is nebraskahometown.org. “There you can tap into the planned giving website, and there is a free wills guide, that is a great way to get you started,” Mekelburg said.