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For many of us, getting organized is part of our New Year's ritual. The stores have containers and organizing tools on sale, magazines and blogs are filled with tips. Adding a review of your Will or Estate Plan to your New Year's list can be a smart idea.

Experts typically advise individuals to get the basic estate planning documents in order around the time they are married or buy a home, and revisit the will regularly, especially around the time of retirement.

According to a May 2021 US News article, you can get started and complete your will in 10 simple steps:

  • Find an estate planning attorney or use a do-it-yourself software program

  • Select beneficiaries for your will.

  • Choose the executor for your will.

  • Pick a guardian for your kids (if applicable).

  • Be specific about who gets what.

  • Be realistic about who gets what.

  • Attach a letter to the will.

  • Sign the will properly.

  • Find a place for your will.

  • Review and update your will

Having a poorly written or out-of-date will can be costly and derail an otherwise well-planned estate.

Consider one more step.

Leave a legacy gift for your community. Think about it, where did you raise your family, take long walks, meet friends, live your life? In your community. How wonderful would it be to leave a gift so that your community can continue to support friends and family as they grow?

Through a legacy gift, you can leave a percentage of your assets or fixed dollar amount to a cause you care about in your community, or to support ongoing needs by making a gift to or through the Community Foundation of Jo Daviess County.

The Community Foundation can help you by helping you learn more about making a legacy gift, helping you think about the causes you care about, and providing language to your attorney or professional advisor.

Professional advisors can access language for a gift to or through the Community Foundation on our website on the advisors page.


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