SHOULD ONE OF YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
BE TO REVIEW YOUR WILL?
Everyone makes New Year's resolutions. Here's one resolution you can make and KEEP!
The New Year is a perfect time to review your will and reflect on the changes that have occurred since you last reviewed your will.
Maybe you've been blessed by the arrival of grandchildren. Are you about to begin your new and exciting life of retirement? Maybe you are going to make your winter home your permanent address.
All of those events are significant and can have an impact on the true effectiveness of your will. Changes in any conditions in place when you first drafted your will should cause you to review your plans and consider the new circumstances.
Tax Law Changes
Changes in federal or state tax law are often excellent reasons to review your will with an attorney. In 2001 President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Growth and Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. The act offers sweeping changes in the next decade and contains a "sunset provision." Unless Congress extends tax relief, all of the act's provisions will be repealed after December 31, 2010, and tax laws and rates will revert to their current status. In many cases, the act will subject inherited assets to capital gains taxes in 2010. The act could dramatically affect your current estate plan.
Additions to Your Family
The arrival of a new family member, whether a child or grandchild, is a wonderful event. It is also an important reason to review your will. New dependents mean new responsibilities, additional costs, and opportunities as you plan for their futures. To meet those challenges, your financial and estate plans should be flexible and reviewed periodically.
Changes in Assets
Since you last reviewed your will, your assets probably have increased in number and value. That growth may have an impact on your tax situation or your intended distribution to family members and charitable organizations.
Your Charitable Interests Have Changed
Your will or trust offers you a tremendous opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Through a bequest, you can support in perpetuity the important work of the Nebraska State Historical Society and other organizations that you value. Charitable bequests can be tailored to meet your specific personal and financial objectives. It is important to review these provisions to be certain they continue to reflect your present intentions.
Marital Status Changes
A change in your marital status is another important reason to review your will. Have you recently married, been widowed, or divorced? If you recently married, you might need to make new provisions for your spouse or his or her children. If you are recently widowed, there may be decisions you must make about the assets you've received from your spouse's estate. For those divorced or widowed, the contingency plans you made with your former spouse may no longer reflect your wishes.
Moving to Another State
Did your primary place of residence change? A will or trust valid in one state may require modification to conform to another state's law. It is important to have a professional in your new state of residence look over your will or trust documents to make sure your wishes can be fulfilled without unnecessary complications or delays.
Executors and Trustees
Is your executor or personal representative still able to carry out your wishes? While you are reviewing your will, be sure to assess the family member, friend, or corporate fiduciary's ability to complete your instructions.
Giving is, of course, much more than tax brackets and charitable deductions. Your charitable gifts make an important difference in what we are able to accomplish. With your help, the Nebraska State Historical Society can provide greater access to the many fascinating stories of our state and the artifacts that tell those stories.
For more information on how to reduce your income taxes significantly next spring and help us safeguard and share our state's history, contact the NSHS Foundation, your tax advisor, or attorney.
WHERE TO START
The best time to review your estate is now. This also applies if you are one of the seventy percent of Americans without a will. Start your review by creating or updating a list of assets, including your retirement plan accounts and life insurance. Then consider how you would like to provide for family members and charitable organizations. Once you have thought about these factors, take your ideas to an attorney who specializes in estate planning to advise you about your plans.
If you are making minor changes to your existing will, it may not be necessary to rewrite the document entirely. With the help of an attorney, you can make many adjustments through a codicil or will supplement.
DOUGLAS THEATRE COMPANY SPONSORS 2003 FILM SERIES AT MUSEUM OF NEBRASKA HISTORY
The Douglas Theatre Company is sponsoring the Society's fifteenth annual film series entitled Reel Treasures: Nebraska's Contributions to the National Film Registry. The series features films with Nebraska actors, producers, or settings that have been accepted in the National Film Registry.
All films are shown, free of charge, at the Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln, at 2 P.M.
Our thanks to the Douglas Theatre Company for its gift to the Foundation, making this program possible. The series begins on January 19, 2003, and runs for seven weeks. Try to join us for one of these great films:
January 19: Safety Last (1923) This perfect combination of thrills and laughter stars Burchard native Harold Lloyd.
January 26: Top Hat (1935) Nebraska native Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing and dance to Irving Berlin' s music.
February 2: The Lady Eve (1941) Henry Fonda plays a brewery heir pursued by gold digger Barbara Stanwyck in this Preston Sturges comedy.
February 9: How Green Was My Valley (1941) Producer Darryl Zanuck won the Academy Award for best picture with this story of a Welsh coal-mining family.
February 16: The Heiress (1949) -- Olivia de Havilland won an Oscar, but this film helped make Omaha native Montgomery Clift a star.
February 23: On the Waterfront (1954) -- Marlon Brando's first Academy Award came from his portrayal of an ex-boxer longshoreman fighting corruption.
March 2: Badlands (1974) -- A critically acclaimed film based on the Charles Starkweather/Caril Fugate murder spree.
Foundation Board of Directors
James W. Hewitt, Lincoln, President
Allison D. Petersen, Walton, Executive Vice President
Joanne F. Shephard, Valentine, Secretary
Robert D. Northrop, Lincoln, Treasurer
Jack D. Campbell, Lincoln
Thomas Creigh, Jr., Hastings
Martha A. Greer, Lincoln
Steven E. Guenzel, Lincoln
Diane N. "Diny" Landen, Omaha
Dr. Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
Lu Marcotte, Nebraska City
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
John D. Massey, Scottsbluff
George H. Moyer, Jr., Madison
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
Cynthia Olson, Lisco
Amy Scott-Willer, Omaha
John W. Webster, Omaha
S. N. "Bud" Wolbach, Grand Island
Dr. John Wunder, Lincoln
Dorothy G. Hevelone, Beatrice, Director Emeritus
Lawrence J. Sommer, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio
Keith Blackledge, North Platte, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Jim McKee, Lincoln, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio
Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
215 Centennial Mall South, #408
Lincoln, NE 68508-1813
November/December 2002 Issue