When a person dies without a will, a court judge decides how their wealth is distributed. The estate is usually divided among family members, and, if the deceased had wanted to donate a portion of his or her assets to a charity, that chance will be missed.
Though a will is the best way to designate beneficiaries and charities of your choice, you still have options if you do not wish to incur the expense of a lawyer to create one.
Planned Giving is the term used to describe how a person would like assets distributed upon death. Some plans involve professional assistance and some do not. Many believe Planned Giving is only for the wealthy. The truth is that even people of modest means can make a significant contribution through Planned Giving.
Is there an easy way to donate my assets to TPRF when I die without having a will or trust?
Yes. There is a way of designating beneficiaries to receive your assets at the time of your death without having to go through probate. It’s called Transfer-On-Death (TOD). A TOD also allows you to specify the percentage of your assets each person or entity (your “TOD beneficiary”) will receive. Your assets will be automatically transferred to the designated beneficiaries upon your death. Transfer-On-Death is a means of transferring assets without the hassle, delay, and cost of probate. If you set up your account or have your securities registered this way, the executor or administrator of your estate won’t have to take any action to ensure that your securities transfer to the beneficiaries you designated.
With TOD registration, you maintain complete control over your assets during your lifetime. Your named beneficiaries have no access to or control over your assets as long as you are alive.
How do I set up a TOD account and what are the costs?
Simply talk to your bank or brokerage firm and tell them you want your account to be designated as a TOD account. There is no cost for setting it up, and you are free to change the beneficiaries whenever you desire. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork to change the designation.
If I have a will, what information is needed to bequest a percentage or dollar amount to my designated beneficiaries?
You will need the name, address and Tax ID # of the beneficiaries written in your will. If you are planning to name TPRF as a beneficiary, please contact the TPRF Planned Giving Team at PlannedGiving@tprf.org to get this information.
I have an insurance policy and would like to include TPRF as a beneficiary. How do I do that?
Simply contact the insurance company. They will provide you with a form. When you fill it out, you may name TPRF as either a primary or contingent beneficiary. You may also designate the percentage or dollar amount you wish to give upon your death.
I have an IRA and would like to include TPRF as a beneficiary. How do I do that?
Simply contact the brokerage firm or bank where the IRA is being held. They will provide you with a form. When you fill it out, you may name TPRF as either a primary or contingent beneficiary. You may also designate the percentage or dollar amount you wish to give upon your death.
Why is it necessary to have a will?
There are many myths about wills. Here are some common ones:
Myth: “Only rich people need wills.”
In fact, the families of those who are not rich are more apt to be affected by not having a will in place. In the absence of a will, local laws usually determine how a person’s assets will be distributed. Also, many people are worth more than they realize when they take into account their life insurance, retirement benefits, home, savings, and securities.
Myth: “People without dependents do not need wills.”
Under state law, the property of a person without a will and without dependents goes to his or her parents and perhaps brothers and sisters in specified, rigid shares. Friends, charities, and other organizations the person may have wished to support will be left out.
Myth: “Younger people do not need wills.”
Not true. Every adult is likely to need a will, especially young married people with children. Accidents occur, and it is not uncommon for fatal accidents to involve both parents.
Myth: “All my property is in joint ownership. Why do I need a will?”
It is unlikely that all of your property is jointly owned. For example, you may have retirement benefits, death benefits from your employer, income-tax refunds, etc. that are not legally considered “joint ownership.” And what happens if you and your joint tenant die in a common accident?
Reasons for Needing a Will
Some 70% of us will spend a lifetime working, accumulating assets, caring for loved ones, and then leave the distribution of our property up to local laws. The distribution of these assets may not be in accordance with our wishes. Probably no other document in our lifetime is as important as a will. With a will you can:
make your wishes clear by determining to whom, how, and when your assets will be distributed
create trusts for your spouse, children, or others, thus providing income to your beneficiaries as well as saving taxes
name an executor who will manage your assets in accordance with your intentions