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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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When To Think About Tomorrow?

"Estate Planning? I'm too young for that. Anyway, at this point in my life, my ‘estate' isn't big enough to worry about."

At what age should people start thinking about writing a will or making other estate plans? In most states, the only legal requirement for will-making is that a person be age 18 or older and "of sound mind." But as a practical matter, the need for a will starts to arise when a person assumes family responsibilities or accumulates personal wealth sufficient to warrant planning for its distribution. Here are six good reasons for younger people to make wills:

  1. Parents with minor children need wills to nominate the persons they would want to serve as guardians, should the children become orphans. Otherwise, a court might appoint a guardian who does not share the parents' personal or religious values.
  2. Parents should consider establishing trusts in their wills to provide financial management and protection for minor children in the event both the mother and father were to pass away.
  3. Married persons with living parents might prefer that their estates pass 100% to the surviving spouse, but without a will, one-half or more of a person's estate could pass to his or her surviving parents, brothers and sisters, under many state "intestacy" laws.
  4. A will is the simplest way for you to direct who will receive your property when you die. Without a will, the state will distribute some of your property for you – according to its own inflexible laws. There may be special personal items or mementos that you might wish to bequeath to friends or particular family members, or important causes you wish to benefit.
  5. Your will enables you to name an executor (personal representative) – of your own choice – to carry out the directions in your will and help your family with any special problems (business or personal) that may arise after your death.
  6. You may be one of the many people who have been helped by the work of the American Red Cross and now would like to "give something back," so future generations also may benefit.

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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.