Your Estate Planning Clean-Up Guide

Is Your Plan Up to Date?

It’s easy to know when to renew your driver’s license or credit card—just look at the expiration date. But what about your estate planning documents? Keeping these current is an essential part of creating the future you envision, but they don’t come with expiration dates.

As you tackle your spring cleaning projects this year, take time to clean up your estate plan as well—the chart below can help.

Document What it is Where to keep it When to update it
Will/Living trust These documents direct your trustee or personal representative on how to distribute your estate. In a fireproof emergency kit. You should also give a copy to your trustee or personal representative. Every 2 to 5 years or immediately after experiencing a life event such as:
  • A move to a different state.
  • A change in marital status.
  • The addition of a child.
Durable power of attorney This document allows someone of your choice to carry out financial matters for you in the event of an illness or disability. In a fireproof emergency kit. You should also give a copy to the person you appointed. If your relationship with your chosen person changes or if this person predeceases you.
Health care proxy and living will These documents name an individual to make health care decisions if you become unable to do so. Give copies of the form to your health care provider(s) and the person you named as your proxy. If your relationship with your chosen proxy changes or if this person predeceases you.

Are We in Your Plan?

If, as you review and update your plan, you decide to include a gift to Second Harvest Food Bank, please let us know by contacting Heather Sweeney at hsweeney@secondharvest.org or 504-729-2839. It would be our honor to thank you for your generosity.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Second Harvest Food Bank a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

“I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath the sum of $________ or ______ percent of my estate to Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, a nonprofit institution incorporated in the State of Louisiana with a business address of 700 Edwards Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70123 and tax identification number #72-0956468 for its unrestricted use and purpose.”

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Second Harvest or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Second Harvest as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Second Harvest as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Second Harvest where you agree to make a gift to Second Harvest and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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