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Inside This Issue

Inside This Issue
2008 Disasters Challenge Red Cross Resources
When to think about Tomorrow
"Do-It-Yourself" Estate Planning?
Creative Ideas for Estate Gifts
Got Real Estate?
Frank Rasmus: "It's Not About Me"

Mission Statement

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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"Do-It-Yourself" Estate Planning?

'Do-It-Yourself' Estate Planning?

A recent article in a national publication carried the headline: "Don't Cheap Out on Your Estate Plan." The point of the article was that, while computer software is available that would enable you to have a "do-it-yourself" will or living trust, this idea may have serious drawbacks.

Why should you employ an experienced estate planning attorney to draft a will, trust or other documents? He or she often will be able to spot potential problems or risks affecting your estate and can offer solutions and opportunities that may not be forthcoming from your computer. Furthermore, the cost of using an attorney is relatively small, compared to the financial losses and family disputes that otherwise might occur after your death.

How can you locate an estate planning attorney? The answer may be as simple as asking friends or family members for references. Who was the attorney who wrote their wills or served as estate attorney when there was a death in the family? Were they satisfied with that person's performance?

If you have recently moved to a new community and can't get the first-hand experiences of others, call the local bar association and ask for names of attorneys who are active in estate planning and probate work. The American Bar Association provides links to state associations at Be sure to ask prospective attorneys how much of their practice is devoted to wills and probate.

Note: The Red Cross would be pleased to send you our free estate planning and charitable giving guide, Touching the Future. Just visit our website at This 38-page guide is in a handy workbook format that allows you to keep all your important information in one place, including:

  • A record of property;
  • Family and business contacts including lawyer, executor, trustee and power of attorney;
  • Funeral arrangements and who should be notified;
  • Banking and insurance details;
  • Current desires for distribution of property, and more.

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© 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.