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The Best Reasons to Create a Will

It’s hard to think about what life will be like for your loved ones after you pass away. Who will take care of family and your affairs? How will you be remembered by the organizations and causes you supported during your lifetime?

One way to guarantee a smoother transition is with a will. Passing away without one can create havoc and dissension among even the tightest-knit families. When you don’t specify your wishes for your loved ones, they’re left to speculate about what you might have wanted to happen.

Creating a will doesn’t have to be complicated. Putting your wishes in writing ensures that the people and causes you care about are taken care of after you’re gone. If you haven’t created one, here’s how it can protect the future of those you care about most:

Your spouse: Without a will, the laws of the state where you live decide how much of your estate your spouse will receive. Some states have laws that allow for your entire estate to pass to your surviving spouse. Other states will give your surviving spouse one-third of your estate, with your children sharing the rest. If you don’t have children, some states allow your spouse’s parents, siblings and other relatives to receive a cut.

Your partner: If you wish to leave assets to someone you’re not married to, a will is especially important. If you die without a will, most states have laws that are indifferent to the surviving partner. For example, your live-in partner of 20 years could receive nothing and be forced to move out of your shared home.

Your children: If you have minor children but don’t have a will, a court may end up deciding who will become their guardian should something happen to you. Wouldn’t you rather make this important decision? Another consideration: Without a will in place, your minor children will likely receive their share of your estate when they turn 18, regardless of their money-management skills. By creating a simple trust when you write your will, you can control when your children receive their inheritance—and how much.

Your favorite charities: We all have charitable causes, including Hospice of the Valleys, that are important to us and whose futures we feel we have a stake in. When you create a will, you can include a provision that supports our future and other charitable organizations that are important to you. If you die without a will, no state has laws that allow for charitable contributions from your estate.

Already Have a Will?

If you have already created a will, make sure it’s up-to-date. Life changes such as births, deaths or marriages; increased estate values; or a move to another state should trigger you to meet with your estate planning attorney to review your will.

Need Help?

If you haven’t yet created your will, don’t put off the task any longer. We can help you start the process today with our FREE Personal Estate Planning Kit. Download your kit now or contact Gina O’Bryant at or (951) 200-7800 today.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hospice of the Valleys 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 to Hospice of the Valleys, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 25240 Hancock Ave. Suite 120, Murrieta, CA 92562, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

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 Hospice of the Valleys 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 our mission.

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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 Hospice of the Valleys as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 Hospice of the Valleys 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 Hospice of the Valleys where you agree to make a gift to Hospice of the Valleys 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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