Planned Giving News and Information
June, 2016
The following is intended as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. Individual circumstances vary - please consult your legal and tax advisors about your specific situation. To return to the general planned giving pages, please close this browser window. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus.

For those who have the means to give, but have not done so, you have to ask, why not? You’ll be fine if you do without something, say a latte or a handbag, but you’re not fine if you live without feeling good about yourself and your life. That’s why economic gift and personal reward are hugely linked. The greatest thing you can do for yourself is to give to others.

Lucy Billingsley,
Founder, Chiapas International

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How do I change or revoke a will?
Your will does not take effect until you die. You can create a new will or revoke or amend an existing will up until your death.
A will remains valid until properly revoked or superseded. Revoking your will must be done very carefully. Most state laws require that the will be revoked by a subsequent instrument (a new will) or by a physical act (e.g., destroying or defacing it). This means the will must either be burned, torn, or canceled with the intent to revoke. You might, for example, write REVOKED across the will and sign and date the revocation.
You can amend (change) your will by executing a codicil. A codicil is a separate, written, and formally executed document that becomes part of your will. More specifically, a codicil is a supplement or addition to a will that explains, modifies, or revokes a previous will provision or that adds an additional provision. A codicil generally should be used only for minor changes to your will. You should execute a new will if there are many changes or a major change.
An example of a codicil is available on our website. Read more.

Ways To Boost Your Credit Score in 2016
Have you resolved to improve your credit score in 2016? We might dislike FICO, but the financial system still largely depends upon those three digits. If your goal is a higher credit score, here are five tips to help you get there. Read more.

What You Need to Know if You Get a Letter in the Mail from the IRS
Each year, the IRS mails millions of notices and letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. If you receive correspondence from us:

  1. Don’t panic. You can usually deal with a notice simply by responding to it.
  2. Most IRS notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice has specific instructions, so read your notice carefully because it will tell you what you need to do. Read more.

Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2016
On May 16 the House of Representatives passed the Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2016 (H.R. 3832). The Senate Finance Committee previously passed a similar bill. The act now moves to the full Senate for a vote. The bill was introduced by Rep. James Renacci (R-OH). He and his wife were victims of tax refund fraud. The bill is designed to facilitate better IRS assistance for identity theft victims. There are four major provisions in the act.

  • IRS Contact – There will be a central contact in the IRS offices for all identity theft victims.
  • IRS Notice – If the IRS suspects identity theft, the IRS will notify the affected taxpayer.
  • Filing Study – The IRS will conduct a comprehensive study to review options for victims to opt out of electronic filing. Filing paper returns will protect most victims from a second theft.
  • Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) – The IRS will develop a single center to collect and analyze identity theft data. The goal will be to find new methods to reduce identity theft.

How Giving Actually Benefits The Giver
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” is a common catchphrase attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who could have just as easily assigned all these positive attributes to the practice of giving.  Although most of us think of giving as benefitting the recipient more than the giver, scientific studies consistently prove that giving has just as many (if not more) benefits for the donor including happiness, better health, and increased wealth. Read more.

Charitable Tax Trick For Big And Little Donors
Whether you have $100, $1,000 or $100,000 to give to charity, a newly permanent charitable giving tax break can help you save taxes while helping your favorite charity. It’s called the IRA charitable rollover, and it lets you, once you reach 70 1/2, direct gifts of up to $100,000 a year from your Individual Retirement Account directly to a public operating charity. If you don’t normally itemized deductions, the rollover is a clear tax win. Even if you do itemize, it can save you more tax than taking the IRA distribution into income and then donating it. Read more.

Nearing Retirement? Time to Get Focused
If you're within 10 years of retirement, you've probably spent some time thinking about this major life change. The transition to retirement can seem a bit daunting, even overwhelming. If you find yourself wondering where to begin, the following points may help you focus. Read more.


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Please note, individual financial circumstances will vary. The information on this site is meant as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. As with all tax and estate planning, please consult your attorney or estate specialist. All material is copyrighted and is for viewing purposes only. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus. Please report any problems to webmaster.