The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

November 11, 2012

When you're making a will, consider leaving a legacy

 

Editor’s Note: This article was provided by David Ziegler of Ziegler and Ziegler, Attorneys at Law, located in Hinton. David currently serves on the Board of the Hinton Area Foundation and has provided this article in support of “Wills Week,” an initiative of Leave A Legacy of West Virginia. Local members include Beckley Area Foundation, Community Foundation of the Virginias, Concord University, Hinton Area Foundation, New River Community & Technical College, Tamarack Foundation, and United Way of Southern WV.

 

Have you made a will?

Just about everybody needs a will. The probate process in West Virginia is relatively simple, but if you don’t have a will, the person administering your estate will have to post a fiduciary bond. The premiums for these bonds have increased so much that it is typically less expensive to have a will drafted by an attorney than it is to pay the bond premium. And most wills specify that the executor does not have to post bond.

A well-drafted will identifies your heirs, provides for contingencies if heirs predecease you, specifies what properties go to which heirs, includes a residuary clause that states who takes all the rest of your property not specifically given, and appoints an executor and alternate executor. It is especially important to set forth provisions for spouses who may be infirm, and children or grandchildren who may be underage.

Certainly it is understandable that a person writing a will would want to provide for a spouse and children. But if you and your spouse are secure, or if you are single, or if your children are financially secure, do you want to consider leaving part or all of your estate to charity? John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, each almost single-handedly, improved the quality of life in the United States because of their charitable contributions.

Closer to home the Benedum Foundation has helped a lot of West Virginians and West Virginia charities. Right here in Hinton several people have made substantial charitable bequests in their wills that have established scholarships, benefited the public library and supported the humane society.

The bequests do not have to be substantial. If 10 financially secure people each left 10 percent of their estates to benefit say, the humane society, that would provide a solid financial basis for that organization. Would a 10 percent reduction in your estate seriously impair your heirs? In most cases, it would hardly be noticed, and imagine how much good we could collectively do!

A particularly beneficial form of gift is to leave leftover pension money to a charity. If you have an IRA, a 401-k or a Keogh Plan, and if you do not exhaust those resources during your lifetime, your heirs will probably have to pay income tax (and possibly estate tax as well) on those funds. However, if you specify in your will that you want those pension funds to go to a charity, then there will be no income tax on those funds.

Community foundations exist largely, to marshal charitable contributions, pool and invest that money, and use the income for charitable purposes. The local community foundations in Hinton, Beckley, Lewisburg, Bluefield and Summersville are each non-profit charitable organizations that benefit all of southern West Virginia. They are worthy vehicles to consider if you chose to leave part or all of your estate for charitable purposes.

For more information about the Hinton Area Foundation, call 304-466-5332, visit our website, befriend us on Facebook, or write to P.O. Box 217, Hinton, WV 25951.

1
Text Only
Life!
  • 072314 Life CrossFit 4.jpg Crossfit Nation: Working out the WOD way

    Just as fashion trends come and go, so do fitness fads, and Cyndie Chinn had tried them all.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • downsize 1 Living large in smaller spaces

    How is it possible that as your nest gets emptier, your garage gets fuller? Living off the grid sounds tantalizing — the extreme version of paring down. But are you ready for solar panels and growing your own groceries or would a smaller home do the trick?

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Relishing the faith of little children

    July 19, 2014

  • Guns 1 ‘Guns’ for Life

    With the latest World Health Organization figures showing global life expectancy increasing from 64 years in 1990 to 70 years in 2011, staying healthy enough to add quality to the quantity of life is an important consideration.

    July 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • coconut 4 Crack open the power of the coconut

    Now let’s get this straight …
      We know about Parrotheads. And Cheeseheads. But when did Coconut Heads become cool?
    Move over, argan — you are so last season. Another exotic oil is taking lead role in everything from shampoo to weight-loss supplements. That cast-iron skillet seasoning, stretch-mark banishing essence of the hour is — coconut oil.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Free summer serenade concert to be held

    Aurora Celtic, sponsored by Ivy & Stone, presents the free Summer Serenade concert Saturday at 6 p.m. on the Brown House lawn in Summersville.

    July 13, 2014

  • WVU Extension: Healthy summer eating tips for all occasions

    Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

    July 13, 2014

  • new BAF fund Endowment still helping students attend college

    The “Beckley College, College of West Virginia, Mountain State University and University of Charleston-Beckley Alumni Association Fund” has the distinction of having the longest name of any of the 400 permanent endowments managed by the Beckley Area Foundation.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • My faith is an anchor to hold on to

    July 12, 2014

  • 062514 Life Piloxing 3.jpg Wellness Wednesdays: One-Two, Punch!

    In a fast-paced blend of pilates, boxing and dance, a popular group exercise class at the YMCA called Piloxing is a sure way to increase cardio and build long, lean muscles.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos