(Family Features) Regardless of your age, it’s never too early to plan your estate and ensure last wishes are met. Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy – it’s a process that allows you to determine how your assets are bequeathed and managed upon incapacitation or death.
Aiming to promote cultural preservation and secure funds for Jewish institutions, the Jewish Future Pledge is a global initiative empowering families to discuss the importance of estate planning, including why patriarchs and matriarchs should ensure charitable giving continues after their passing. The organization estimates $68 trillion will be transferred to the next generation over the next 25 years with around 20% of this wealth coming from Jewish donors.
Discuss these basic estate planning steps with your loved ones and consider consulting an attorney for individual guidance.
Although not typically legally binding, preparing a letter of final wishes allows you to share information and requests, like funeral arrangements, which often fall outside of the will. It may also include an explanation of will provisions or suggestions for how funds you’ll leave behind should be used.
Prepare a Will
A legally binding last will and testament is often considered the most important aspect of estate planning. This involves naming guardians for minor children and pets, listing all property, designating people and organizations that should receive assets, directing funds to charities and naming an executor.
Consider Causes Important to You
As part of will creation and estate planning, consider charitable causes you’d like to support after passing. Talking with loved ones can be a way to gather input on important causes, and those conversations can act as a springboard for generations to support a particular cause or organization, based on their shared values.
The Jewish Future Pledge asks Jews and their allies to prioritize these intergenerational conversations as they can be catalysts for families to include Jewish causes and Israel in their estate planning to ensure the future of Jewish people. By signing the pledge, individuals promise that 50% or more of the funds intended for charity will be earmarked for Jewish charities or Israel.
Taking the pledge means individuals can ensure their legacy aligns with their values and clarifies their intentions after passing. For those who already donate to Jewish causes, the pledge acts as a beacon to others to make the same commitment.
“Signing the Jewish Future Pledge is more than just an act – it’s a deeply rooted, emotional declaration of my unwavering dedication to my cherished community,” said Jewish social media influencer and entrepreneur Elizabeth “Lizzy” Savetsky, who became the 15,000th person to commit to the initiative. “In taking this step, I’m fiercely determined to safeguard the rich values and time-honored traditions that have shaped my identity and the lives of countless others.”
Find more information by visiting JewishFuturePledge.org.
Naming people who should inherit assets like life insurance policies or retirement accounts is something you may have completed long ago when creating those assets. However, it’s important to ensure the beneficiaries named align with your will to avoid conflict as designated beneficiaries often take precedence over a will, which could create confusion and legal headaches.
Regularly Review Your Plan
Establishing your estate plan is important for ensuring last wishes are met, but it’s also beneficial to revisit the plan regularly to update when necessary. For example, many people review their plans every couple of years or at major life events, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, marriage or divorce, purchasing a large asset, changing life insurance coverage and career changes.