General PETA Information
Estate Planning Is for Everyone
Everyone likes to save money. One of the increasingly popular ways to save is by surfing the Web for deals and inexpensive do-it-yourself project ideas.
Bypassing an attorney to purchase an estate planning document from the Internet, however, isn't one of the smart ways to save a buck. In fact, it may cost you much more.
Example: Family Plans Gone Wrong
Alice and Ben have two young children. They realize the importance of creating an estate plan. To save some money, however, they purchase estate planning software and create their wills themselves. They properly named a guardian for their minor children in the documents, signed the wills and placed them in a safe-deposit box. Unfortunately, they did not execute the documents correctly.
Ten years later, Alice and Ben were tragically killed in an automobile accident. Their do-it-yourself wills were filed with the probate court, but the court invalidated both wills because they were improperly executed. Their estates were probated as if they died without wills.
After a lengthy and expensive court battle between family and friends, the court determined that it was in the best interest of the children to appoint a different guardian than the one named in the DIY will. In addition, the minor children ended up with significantly less money because of the expensive litigation than they would have had Alice and Ben consulted with an estate planning attorney.
Cut Down on Legal Costs With Timesaving Tricks
If you would like to save money when creating or updating your estate plan, instead of looking to DIY documents, consider these three timesaving strategies you can implement to cut down on legal costs:
- Become an educated consumer. Read books, review articles or browse the Internet to become educated on the topic of estate planning prior to making an appointment with an estate planning attorney. If you do so, the estate planning attorney will not have to spend time explaining the estate planning basics. This is especially true if your attorney charges by the hour. Every minute you save is less money out of your pocket.
- Think and discuss. You should take time to think about how you would like your assets distributed when you pass away. Then discuss your wishes with close family and friends.
- Complete an estate planning questionnaire. This document, which you can request from your attorney, requires you to think about and fill in certain information about your family and assets. You can fill it out on your time, not billable time.
Every person is unique, and so is every estate. Consult an estate planning attorney today to begin the process of creating or updating your estate plan—your family will thank you.
If you would like to remember People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in your estate plan, please contact Tim Enstice at 757-962-8213 or Legacy@peta.org to learn about your options.
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under this agreement, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.
A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals 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 to PETA [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] 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 PETA 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 PETA as a lump sum.
You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 PETA 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 PETA where you agree to make a gift to PETA 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.