“Executor” Is Not an Honorary Position

“You have heard the story, haven't you, about the man, as he was ridden out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered, somebody asked him how he liked it, and his reply was, if it was not for the honor of the thing, he would much rather walk!” – Abraham Lincoln.

People who have served as executor of someone’s estate would probably agree that the job is more of a great responsibility than an honor.  Your executor will be legally responsible for settling your estate and carrying out all the provisions of your will.  It is not an easy task, even though an estate attorney provides legal assistance.  The person you name will have to collect and preserve assets, wind up accounting procedures, file tax returns and worry about investments and cash needs.

Ideally, your executor would be not only fully competent to perform such tasks, but also sincerely disposed and motivated to meet the important and unique needs of your particular beneficiaries, including helping them with any special problems that may arise after your death.      

You may nominate your husband or wife as your executor, or a competent and experienced friend or relative, or the trust department of a bank.  Or you may wish to follow the example of many who name a spouse, friend or relative together with the trust department of a bank, to serve as co-executors.  You may want to nominate a successor executor if the person you name is unable to serve. 



Trusts That Benefit You and Our Future

The flexibility of trusts enables donors to divide the enjoyment and the benefits of a single piece of property or fund of money between their families and worthwhile causes and organizations.  This concept of providing dual benefits from the same assets can also produce meaningful tax and financial rewards.  Benefits can be shared in either of two basic patterns: 

  • Give immediate income benefits to your family for life or a period of time – with the trust assets ultimately benefitting our programs (charitable remainder trusts).

  • Give all or part of the immediate benefits to a trust for our benefit for a period of years – with the property eventually returning to your family (charitable lead trusts). 

Both of these trust arrangements will save taxes, benefit future generations and not impair the security of your family.  Please call if you would like more information on how these very general concepts might be refined to fit your own needs and goals.


Bring New Life to an Old Policy

When you were young, did your parents provide you with a “juvenile” life insurance policy?  When your own kids were still at home and in need of protection, did you take out additional life insurance?

Many people have old, paid-up life insurance policies such as those described above that are no longer needed for their original purpose.  It might be satisfying to rededicate these surplus policies to “insuring” our future . . . with excellent tax results.

Consider the case of a father, age 65, whose two children completed college many years ago and are now married and financially independent. The father took out a $100,000 insurance policy when he was 30 that was intended to help cover the cost of the children’s college education in the event of his premature death. This policy was never needed for that purpose, and now has a cash surrender value of about $35,000.

If all rights of ownership in this policy were contributed, the father would receive an income tax deduction of approximately $35,000, which would save considerable taxes on next year’s tax return.  Alternatively, the policy might be split into two $50,000 policies and the father could contribute one and retain the other. 


Lifelong Strategies for Effective Philanthropy

The generous people who support our efforts often follow a common pattern:

  • They start by becoming annual donors, contributing what they can early in life, then  increasing their generosity as they achieve success in a career, profession or business;

  • They assist with special gifts that will guarantee continued excellence in our programs;

  • They may embrace sophisticated gift techniques such as charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities or charitable lead trusts as a means of preserving, even improving family financial security during their lifetimes – all in the context of meaningful future support for our work;

  • They devise estate plans – wills, trusts and beneficiary designations – with thoughtfully planned charitable bequests that stand as their “ultimate gift” for a better world.

We would be pleased to assist you in your gift planning, no matter what your philanthropic phase might be.  Just contact our office.


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The materials contained on this website are intended only to show some ways by which you can make a charitable gift or bequest and thereby minimize federal tax liabilities, as authorized by the Internal Revenue Code. All examples are of a general nature only and should not be applied to your specific situation without first consulting your attorney or other advisers.