JFS Orlando has been chosen TOP-logoto be a partner in the Tampa-Orlando-Pinellas (TOP) Jewish Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation “Life and Legacy Program”.  The goal of the Program is for the partner agencies and synagogues to embark on a legacy building program benefiting the entire Jewish community. Discussions will be held with donors and friends of JFS who will be asked to consider naming JFS in their estates so that JFS can continue to provide its life saving and enhancing work for years into the future. The following is the first in a series of articles about legacy giving:

Wills are not just for the wealthy anymore

Many people think that wills are only for the wealthy. Fact is that even families of modest means experience heartache and confusion caused when a loved one passes away without a will.

To ensure that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are able to claim important rights to which they are entitled, you should have a valid, current will.

Without a will, a judge decides how to distribute your property, based on state law. Treasured family heirlooms may be sold in order to divide the proceeds among your legal heirs. Fees and expenses related to the state designated distribution of your property will be paid from assets in your estate.

When you have a will, your rights and wishes will be spelled out and honored. Review your will regularly as your circumstances change. Go over it with your trusted designated executor to ensure that there are no questions. Advise your executor where your will is stored.

Compile a list of contact information for all individuals handling your assets, and any personal or family history pertinent to the will and keep it updated and with your will. Make provisions for minor children including their care and guardianship needs. Determine the timing of how you want your assets distributed such as making a provision for an education fund.

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Jewish tradition teaches us to make the world a better place for future generations. Make sure the legacy you want to leave to your children and your community is included in your will.

Include provisions for organizations that are important to you. These can take the form of a simple bequest, an IRA, other retirement assets, or life insurance policies.

A properly executed will allows you to protect your property rights and to take care of your family, organizations important to you and others, according to your wishes.

For more information on Life & Legacy program, contact Eric Geboff, Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando at 407-644-7593 ext. 238 or e-mail eric.geboff@jfsorlando.org.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando, Inc. does not provide legal, tax, or financial advice. Always consult your own professional adviser before making any financial plans. This article is based on one written by the Jacksonville Jewish Foundation.