The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disaster and help prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
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What If You Died Without a Will?
What would happen if you died
without a will? There's an old
saying that "the state has made your
will" — if you haven't done it
yourself. This means that your
estate may pass to beneficiaries
according to the "intestacy" laws of
the state in which you reside at
death. Here is an example of an
intestate's will that several states
have "drafted" for people who die there. Exact
treatment would depend on where you are living
at death; a state-by-state analysis can be found at:
Intestate's Last Will and Testament
Being of sound mind and memory, I, Will Less, do
hereby publish this as my Last Will and Testament:
FIRST — I give my wife only one-half of my
possessions, and I give my children the remaining
SECOND — Should my wife remarry, her
second husband shall be entitled to one-half of
everything my wife possesses, including her
inheritance from me. Should my children need
some of this share for their support, the second
husband shall not be bound to spend any of his
share on my children's behalf.
THIRD — I specifically disinherit all the
worthwhile causes and institutions that I have
supported all my life.
FOURTH — Under existing tax law, there are
certain legitimate avenues open to me to reduce
death taxes. Since I prefer to have my money used
for governmental purposes rather than for the
benefit of my wife and children, I direct that no
effort be made to reduce taxes.
FIFTH — I appoint my wife to handle my estate,
but as a safeguard, I direct that she give a
Performance Bond to guarantee that she does
everything exactly as she should.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand to
this my last Will and Testament this ______ day of
Few of us would deliberately choose a will
like this one. It's important to note that the intestate's
will cannot provide for worthwhile institutions such as
the American Red Cross. Please call us if you would
like more information on will planning, including
how to plan a satisfying bequest to the Red Cross.
If you would like more detailed information on any of the topics discussed, visit our website, www.redcrosslegacy.org.
We respect your desire for privacy and will not make your email address available to third parties.
© Copyright 2005 The
American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.
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The articles in the issues of the Legacy newsletters are for general illustration purposes only. Information, Gift annuity and tax rates were current as of the time of publication. There can be no guarantee that such information will continue to be accurate in the future. Interested Donors should check with the Gift Planning Office for current rates and deduction amounts before completing their gifts. Calculations of tax deductions will vary based on applicable federal discount rates, which change on a monthly basis. The American National Red Cross is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice or assistance in specific cases, the services of an attorney or other professional advisor should be obtained. Certain links in this site connect to other Web sites maintained by third parties over whom the American National Red Cross has no control. American National Red Cross makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other Web sites.