What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

new-year-sWith the New Year just around the corner, there is no better time to create or review your estate plan.  This can seem like a difficult task for many, but have no fear, we are here to help.  Did you know that the Office of Gift Planning has several online resources available to you to assist with your planning?

We encourage you to visit our website, download the materials you find most helpful, and set up a time to meet with your advisor to come up with a plan  it’s time to accomplish the goal of reviewing or creating your estate plan.

In addition to our online resources, we will be hosting a FREE seminar series in Feburary. Financial professionals from the areas of law, insurance, and finance will present information and answer questions on the following topics:

  • February 6:  Financial Planning in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond!
  • February 13:  Estate Planning 101: Everything You Need to Know About Wills & Trusts But Were Afraid to Ask.
  • February 20:  The Sandwich Generation: How to Plan for Yourself While Taking Care of Your Loved Ones.

You may register for one or more of these seminars  by clicking HERE.

We wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year and look forward to working with you in 2014!

THE IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE!

dreamstime_xl_17221658Now’s not the time to hit snooze!

If you are 70½ or older you can make a charitable gift from your IRA. Your gift will qualify for your minimum distribution and you will not have to pay federal income tax on the amount given from your IRA to CSULB.

Curious as to how an IRA Rollover works?  Click HERE for some helpful information from our website.

In order to take advantage of this benefit, your gift must arrive by December 31st!

Contact us to learn more about how you can convert your taxable IRA distribution, potentially reduce your taxes, and help our mission.

Office of Gift Planning
(562) 985-5489
giftplanning@csulb.edu

Where Bequests Go

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This is a common occurrence.  A notice is sent to us by an attorney that someone has Last Will 2died and CSULB was included in the individual’s will.  We are usually notified as the estate administration process begins, regardless of whether the person had a will or trust.  Then we wait.  The various stages of administration can mean a delay of a year or multiple years as the estate administration process unfolds.  The estate administrator has many tasks to accomplish to close out the estate and may not have looked for anything guiding how the funds should be used when they arrive. By the time the funds are distributed, sometimes several years after the initial notification, the details of how the funds are to be used are not included or instructions are incomplete or impossible to carry out.

Some of our bequest donors have specific ideas how they would like their gifts used.  They may want to fund a specific program, create or add to an endowed fund, finance a project or give a scholarship.  He or she may have written an additional letter, made notes, made a verbal comment, or even may have outlined something in a will or trust.  When we know that a donor has included us in an estate plan, we can work together to create a document that will guide the use of the funds when they arrive in the future.  The document “speaks for the donor” when the estate gift arrives so we know precisely how to use the monies.  Having secondary documentation on file is particularly important when the donor would like the gift to form an endowment.  The endowment will last in perpetuity and the secondary document is the guide for use of the fund for future generations of campus faculty and administrators.  It assures we follow the donors’ wishes.

Sometimes CSULB receives a bequest with no direction included or the direction included in the will or trust is outdated and impossible to accomplish.  For example, the gift may be designated to a department that no longer exists or the purpose is not written clearly enough for us to understand.  These gifts are determined to be “undesignated bequests” and then are reviewed by the board of directors of the CSULB 49er Foundation in consultation with the campus President and used for whatever purpose is agreed upon at the time.  The board may decide to create an endowment with funds, or it may decide to use the funds in the current year for whichever program is in need.

CSULB is solidly committed to managing endowments properly because it preserves the legacy of our donors and provides confidence to others when planning their estates.  We recognize that gifts from estates are not only important to our financial strength, but also to the donor and his or her family’s legacy.

Have you thought about naming the campus as a beneficiary of your a “49er gift” of 4.9% or more to CSULB in your will, trust, life insurance policy or retirement fund?  If so, please tell us about it!  We can carry out your wishes best when we know what they are.  Contact the CSULB Office of Gift Planning or call us at (562) 985-5489 to receive a Bequest Information Kit.  It includes sample language you can share with your estate planning advisors and a Gift Intention Form that tells us how to use your gift many years in the future when it arrives.   This way we can honor your legacy and assure that generations of students benefit from your generosity.

There’s no Place like The Beach

HomecomingLogoonlyHomecoming 2013 is on Saturday, November 9th and includes a brunch and entrance to the Men’s Basketball game (vs. Hawaii-Pacific). Tickets for the brunch and game can be purchased here. There will also be several tailgates and games going on throughout the day and the bookstore is offering a special 20% discount on Saturday and Sunday so you can stock up on your Beach gear.

In addition to the events on Saturday, there are a bunch of great activities for our students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff beginning on Monday, November 4th and running through Sunday, November 10th.  These include various sporting events, student exhibitions and performances, college open houses, and much more.  For an up-to-the-minute schedule of everything homecoming, visit our dedicated website, here. A detailed schedule of activities, can be found here.

We hope to see you all there to celebrate together and discover why there really is no place like The Beach!

CSULB 2013 Annual Convocation

5217d56384c80.preview-300On Friday, August 23rd, students, faculty, staff, and university leaders came together to welcome the start of a new year.  Convocation is a time to reflect our past accomplishments and look to the future with anticipation of all that is possible.

This year, it was kicked off with a performance by award-winning jazz ensemble Pacific Standard Time singing, “The sunshine is lighting the way for a new day.” Following this incredible performance we heard remarks from President Donald J. Para, Provost David Dowell, Chair of the Academic Senate, Dan O’Conner, and ASI President John Haberstroh.

In case you missed it, you can visit our Convocation page and click on any of the “2013 Convocation Addresses” to read a transcript of the speeches.

Young Alumna Gives Back in Many Ways and Creates a Legacy for the Future

Lauren GarciaLauren Garcia, Class of 2011, was determined to graduate in two years when she transferred to CSULB in 2008. Unexpected circumstances forced an extension of her college career, but instead of becoming discouraged, Lauren took the opportunity to become more involved with her university and the many student organizations in the College of Business Administration. She joined the Society for Advancement in Management (SAM) in 2010 and during the year and a half of involvement with SAM, Lauren had the opportunity to network with great professionals and to improve her professional skills, making her more marketable to employers. It was then that Lauren understood the incredible value student-run organizations bring to the student body.

“It is not enough to hand down something from one generation to the next and think that you have left a legacy,” said Lauren. After graduation, it was important for Lauren to stay connected with her alma mater, and she did so by volunteering as a member on the boards of the CBA Alumni and Friends and the Professional Advisory Counsel for the University Office of Gift Planning. Lauren also serves as a mentor in the Student Center for Professional Development’s Junior Mentoring Program. However, Lauren wanted to give more than just her time to the college that she loves. Being directly affected by the budget cuts, Lauren saw the impact that financial donors can make in students’ lives. However, Lauren was not in a financial position to make a cash donation. Instead, she made a visionary gift. She named CSULB and the College of Business as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

Lauren now is a member of the CSULB Legacy Society, a recognition group that honors planned giving donors. Lauren’s gift will have a lasting impact on future generations of students in the College of Business by providing scholarship funding, support for student organizations, finance classroom improvements and technological updates. The gift was easy to create and Lauren had no out of pocket expenses.

As a member of the Legacy Society, Lauren is weaving opportunities into the lives of students and helping shape their futures, as well as those who also benefit from our graduates’ superb education. “The process of leaving a legacy involves being connected to the institution that you love on many levels, and sharing experiences that create a lasting impact for future generations,” she added. She is sharing her passion for public higher education and helping California State University, Long Beach stand among the best universities in the nation.

You can learn more about CBA Alumni & Friends and The Legacy Society by following these links:

Click here to learn about other ways you can make a visionary gift of your own

The Legacy Society on Facebook and remember to subscribe to our blog

CBA Alumni & Friends on Facebook and LinkedIn

Estate planning: Learning from the mistakes of others

?????????There is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt which says, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” We could not agree more, especially when discussing estate planning.

We recently came across an article online which lists some of the most common mistakes made.  It’s remarkable to read these stories and see how even the smallest of oversights can cause huge issues for the family and friends we leave behind.  What we took away from this article is that regardless of your resources, estate planning can be confusing!

For example, you may think you are equally dividing your estate amongst your loved ones but even though two assets may have the same value, the gifting of one could create tax liabilities thereby greatly lessening the value of the gift. In another example, actor Heath Ledger had a will that was not updated and he inadvertently disinherited his daughter.

To read the full article, use the link below.  We’ve also included a link to another article which highlights more celebrity estate plans gone wrong.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to read more about celebrity estate planes gone wrong.

Difficult Families

Man and Woman Fighting Over Piggy BankDo You Have a Difficult Family?

A businessman with a $2.5 billion estate passed away in 1976. He was single and many individuals, mostly unrelated to him, filed more than 40 wills with the probate court. Not surprisingly, the individuals who filed the 40 wills hoped to become beneficiaries of a large portion of the estate.Twenty-two cousins fought with all of the other individuals claiming a share of the estate. In the end, the wills were all ruled invalid and the 22 cousins plus the federal government divided up the estate.Your estate may not be $2.5 billion, but if you have a reasonable level of resources and a difficult family member, there could be a will contest. This may occur because one of your family members or potential heirs might believe that he or she can receive a larger portion of the estate. Some beneficiaries will receive a larger share if your will is valid and some will gain if the will is determined invalid. The difficult person is likely to sue if he or she can gain a larger part of your estate.

How Will a Difficult Person Attack Your Plan?

There are several ways to challenge your will. He or she will claim that you have a lack of capacity, that there were unqualified or improper witnesses, or that there has been undue influence that invalidates the will.

What is Capacity?

Capacity is a legal term that means you are qualified to sign a will. Fortunately, you don’t lose capacity simply because you have a “senior moment” or a brief period of forgetfulness. Rather, your capacity is defined as (i) your ability to understand that your will transfers your estate, (ii) that you know the general type and nature of your property, and (iii) you can identify the family members who are your potential heirs.

What Questions May the Attorney Ask?

Your attorney will be very interested in making certain that the will is properly signed and qualified to transfer your property. He or she may ask general questions to enable you to show that you’re qualified to sign the will. The questions may include, “Why are you here?” and “What do you own?” and “Who are the members of your family?”

Click here to read the complete article.

Estate Planning for Facebook

Older Couple Using WebcamDid you know you most likely are the owner of “digital assets?”  When you hear that term, you may think you do not have any because you do not own Facebook, Google or another internet company.  But if you are an Internet user, you probably own digital assets.

Here’s a small test to see what you own. Do you have accounts on websites, other than your bank, that require you to log in? Do you have a web-based email account?  Do you  shop online for books, music or streaming videos?  Do you have a photo storage and sharing site?  Do you use a digital service to  backup your computer? Do you use online health-related services that require a subscription?  Do you tweet, post, message, like or share online?  Each of these activities probably require you to create an account on the internet where your items are stored “in the cloud.”  These are your digital assets.

While you can easily open and close your digital accounts now, the problem becomes more complicated if you are ill or pass away.  Some website end-user agreements do not allow third parties to access accounts under any circumstances. This agreement is the long, legalistic statement that you probably “accept,” without reading when you sign up for a digital service or create an account. The terms in many agreements state that no one can close your account except you. Ever. Additionally, the law currently presumes that any third party who accesses your accounts is unauthorized and is committing fraud.  While that may not be true and it is often not enforced, the law is murky on the subject. Congress is reviewing the issue and looking for ways to balance protections against fraud and identity theft with the need to allow a third party to access personal accounts under certain circumstances, like illness or as part of estate administration.

Meanwhile, practical solutions are evolving.  An increasing number of people have written about the issue. All authors agree that some kind of “digital will” or “digital trust” needs to be put in place with your written instructions about handling these assets when you no longer can manage them.

 In “Five Steps to Creating Your Digital Estate Plan” the author suggests that after making an inventory of all your assets and passwords and naming a “digital executor” and indicating what to do with each account, we should consider whether or not to include a final message to our loved ones.

A new industry of “digital estate planners” is also developing.  You can hire a company that will store your passwords and assist in closing accounts (for a fee, of course).  Click here to see a list of companies and subscription services. Some of these services will help you plan, others may offer a place to memorialize a loved one after his or her Facebook account is closed, and others will help you keep all your digital assets and access codes in one place..

Whatever you choose to do with your “digital self,” be sure to review your digital estate plan at least once a year.  It is important to keep your inventory of digital assets updated so your digital executor can carry out your wishes.

As for us, since CSULB is a premier public university in California we intend never to need these services.  We just want you to like us on Facebook!

There’s always tomorrow….

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It is human nature to put of doing things we do not want to confront. Each of us has a Clocklist of those bothersome chores that are very easy to postpone.  Many can be done today just as readily as tomorrow.  How many of us still need to wash windows, straighten up our desks, or make dental appointments?

Procrastination is the act of delaying something until later. “Later” is usually a deadline, but what if “later” doesn’t apply? We hear the term “expect the unexpected,”  but how many of us really apply this in our lives?  We’re prepared for economic troubles or natural disasters, but what about when something happens to a loved one or ourselves?  Completing our estate plans is a necessary task with an unknown deadline.  If neglected, it leaves behind a mess that loved ones must sort through and solve, even though they are in grief.

If someone dies without a valid will or living trust, the estate is distributed inflexibly according to the “laws of intestacy” devised by the state in which the person lived. The court will have no choice but to distribute the estate according to the scheme in those laws. Remember Jimi Hendrix?  He died without a current will or trust and the estate did not go to key family members as would have been expected.

Even if you do have a will or trust, but it is out of date, you may still have problems. The most recent legally signed document will control the estate, even if it leaves out a new would-be heir. You may have heard about Heath Ledger and how his estate did not include his recently-born daughter.

Putting off the selection of a guardian for your minor children — an important part of estate planning — can also be a headache if your will or trust is not updated.  Their support system will be unresolved until a court decides on their future.   Michael Jackson’s estate and guardianship of his children was in dispute at a time when the children needed stability the most.

In addition to your loved ones, there may be other areas where you would like to leave a legacy.  When no plans are in place, any wishes for charitable giving cannot be carried out.   There is no provision in the state-governed intestacy laws for any philanthropic distributions.  Any unclaimed property will revert to state ownership.

The length of our lives is uncertain and there are no guarantees.  This is why we encourage all of our donors and friends to ensure that they have an estate plan in place, whether or not it includes a gift CSULB.  If you would like to begin your planning, visit our on-line Wills Planner.  This tool can help you gather the information you will need to provide your advisers who can help you devise a plan.  If you would like to include a gift of any size to CSULB, call us at 562-985-5489 or click here for more information.

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