A Complimentary Estate Planning Tool
Happy National Estate Planning Awareness Week (NEPAW)!
A Message from Amy Harrison, MA ’93, Executive Director of Gift Planning
In my 30 years at Adelphi, working with alumni and getting to know so many of my colleagues, I’ve learned that we all want to protect our loved ones and ensure our assets go to the causes that are meaningful to us. But, like the vast majority of Americans, too many of us haven’t taken the steps to do this by creating a will. Maybe we don’t know how to get started, think it’s a lot of work, too complicated, too expensive or maybe we just don’t want to think about it. But having a will is absolutely essential if you want to avoid having someone else determine how to distribute your property.
So, when I learned about FreeWill, I knew I wanted Adelphi to partner with them and to share this online service with my fellow members of the Adelphi community. Like online services that make it easy to file your taxes or do your banking, FreeWill enables you to create your will in 20 minutes or less, and the good news is, it is free. The site uses encryption, so your data is secure.
FreeWill lets you specify a charity or cause you care about in your will or bequest. If you’d like to specify Adelphi, great! You’ll be fostering a lifelong connection with us and you’ll be supporting Adelphi and our students for years to come. But this is not a requirement to use this service.
If you have any questions before you start or along the way, or would like to learn more about FreeWill before using the service, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516.877.3751. I’m happy to meet with you in person, online or over the phone.
FreeWill was created to help solve the crisis of estate planning in America. Despite the best efforts of many, studies reveal that the vast majority of Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan. In fact, according to Gallup, the percentage of Americans with wills has decreased dramatically in the last 10 years.
That’s why a team of 60+ engineers, lawyers, designers, nonprofit experts, and others who are dedicated to making estate planning more accessible created this free will–writing tool. Through this online platform create your legal will or charitable bequest in under 20 minutes at no cost to you. All you have to do is answer simple questions about you and your wishes. Once you’re finished, you will receive a document to download, print, and sign. Your final will is valid in all 50 states.
No wonder 170,000 people have used FreeWill to create their charitable bequests. Learn more about FreeWill and how they got started.
The Adelphi University Gift Planning team has spent years talking to Adelphi alumni and friends about their estate plans. While we are constantly inspired by those who have put great thought into their plans (and perhaps even included Adelphi in those plans!), it is clear that not enough people have created a will (or trust) to provide for their family and the causes they care about when they die.
As a gift planning team, we believe in this mission. While we would love to see every single individual visit an attorney to discuss their wishes and execute the essential legal documents, we know from experience that not everyone will. Providing this easy, accessible tool is one way to help.
If you don’t have an estate plan in place, you’re not alone: 70 percent of Americans do not have an up-to-date will. However, creating your will is essential, and can be a highly impactful way to support the people and causes you love. It ensures that your wishes are known. It saves your loved ones the stress and cost of probate proceedings and lets you (and not the government) decide where your property goes. And creating a will doesn’t have to be costly or complicated — in fact, we have partnered with FreeWill to make it easy and completely free.
Not always. Although FreeWill’s self-help software can provide the legal documents needed to effectuate the common estate planning wishes of an average American user, there are many scenarios where the help of an experienced attorney will be more appropriate. Some common examples of circumstances that FreeWill should not be used for include:
- particularly large estates,
- contentious family dynamics and blended family situations, and
- families that need to provide for special needs children or relatives.
To alert you to these considerations, the FreeWill document-creation flows include numerous Helper Text bubbles, that highlight the issue and encourage users to speak with a qualified attorney. When they do so, FreeWill users can save themselves time and money by using the Documented Wishes option to print out the personal details and wishes they’ve entered, then bring these to their chosen attorney.
A bequest, which is a type of planned gift, is a percentage or amount of your estate that you can designate to support a charitable cause beyond your lifetime. Many visionary donors have chosen to include charitable bequests to Adelphi University in their will or trust.
Your planned gift doesn’t cost you a cent today, but it will have a major impact on Adelphi University’s future financial security. Planned giving is thus a powerful and highly accessible form of donation: No matter your age or current circumstances, anyone can make this commitment today.
Yes, you can! To do so, simply create and execute a new will using FreeWill, and destroy the earlier version. If this is your first time using FreeWill, the site will not know your previous information, so you will create an entirely new will. If you have previously worked with a lawyer to create your will, you can put together your updated wishes on FreeWill and bring them to your lawyer to incorporate into your existing will.
FreeWill can still help—even if you’d prefer to finalize your will with an attorney. At the end of your will-making process, you’ll get a set of your documented wishes that may save you time and money with your lawyer.
No. A will is not valid until it is executed. Be sure to print your will and follow the directions given on how to execute the will. Directions will differ based on your state, but you will always need to sign, get witness signatures, and perhaps even get it notarized.
How can I get started wirh FreeWill?
Are you ready to protect your loved ones while perhaps making a powerful impact for Adelphi?