Things to Consider as You Review Your Plans

  • THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS you will make are those that are the most basic. Decide which individuals and charities you want to provide for and the approximate amounts you want to designate for each. REMEMBER that more assets may be available after tax reform to distribute to loved one and charities.
  • Be sure that your will reflects the new changes to estate tax provisions set forth in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. As a result of these changes that will take effect over the next ten years, you may need to make important changes to the wording of your will.
  • Make appropriate changes if personal circumstances have changed, including:
    • A move to another state
    • A marriage, a divorce, or the death of a spouse
    • New births, or deaths in the family
    • Your assets or finances
    • An inability of a named trustee or executor to serve (or a preference to name another)
    • Changing needs of heirs or relationships with them
  • Review your retirement plans. New incentives (including special catch-up provisions for those over 50) may allow more to be contributed. New tables may mean smaller taxable distributions each year for those over 70. More may be left after your lifetime to distribute to loved ones and charities. And, new regulations make it easier to name a charity as a beneficiary.
  • Review your life insurance policies to see if they are still needed (or will be after the estate tax reform) and what your options are. (Note that part or all of your insurance proceeds can be left to charitable organizations.)
  • Be sure that you have made provisions for someone to handle your affairs in the event of incapacity ( a durable power of attorney or a living trust). Also, be sure that health directives are in place (a health care proxy to authorize another person to make health care decisions and a living will to express your wishes about health care and life-support).
  • Consider the manner in which assets are left to loved ones. Would it be wiser in certain circumstances for assets to be left in trust, rather than directly to heirs, to provide for professional management, creditor protection, or incentive provisions?

The Child Welfare League of America is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. Please notify your attorney or other professional advisor for advice or assistance in specific cases CWLA is happy to provide you more information or answer any questions you may have about setting up a charitable gift that best fits your circumstances. Contact CWLA at 202-688-4200.

CWLA cannot provide legal or tax advisory service. We can provide an array of options and detailed information to guide your choice. Talk to your financial adviser, then e-mail us at