Five Steps to Better Protect Your Kids  

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What is a codicil? A codicil is a legal document written by your estate planning attorney that changes specific provisions in your will but leaves all other provisions unchanged.

Here are five estate planning updates affecting your children that you should make immediately:
  1. Have a guardianship plan. Name a suitable guardian for your minor children in your will. In most cases, your spouse, if you are married, will raise your children if you pass away first. But, are you considering that he or she could remarry? In the event that your spouse dies while your children are still young, do you want his or her new partner to raise your children? If there is someone better qualified to do so, make your desires known now.
  2. Protect what belongs to your children. Make sure your assets and property pass to your children. Spell out in your will the specifics of distributing assets so your children, rather than a former or second spouse, receive what was earmarked for them. Remember, assets aren't only items with financial value. Sentimental items like heirlooms and family photos can be noted in an updated will to pass to your children as well.
  3. Safeguard minor children. If you have minor children, consider placing the assets you want them to inherit in a trust until they are old enough. This prevents court battles if a judge has to name someone as their conservator.
  4. Name a new executor. If your children are of the age of legal majority, you can appoint them as executors, or you can choose a trusted friend or member of your family.
  5. Update beneficiary designations. Life insurance, annuities, retirement benefits and IRAs are usually payable to a named beneficiary and do not pass under the terms of your will. Check these documents to see whether you need to complete new beneficiary designation forms, adding your children's names or a trust for their benefit, to make certain assets are left to your intended heirs. These are also tax-smart vehicles for supporting your favorite charitable organizations, such as Willamette University.
Remember: Life changes. Once you take these steps, make sure to regularly update your wishes as your circumstances change.

Don't Forget Your Favorite Causes When Updating Your Estate Plan
In your existing will or living trust, you may have made specific gifts of property or assets that you no longer own to charitable organizations like Willamette. Update your will or trust to reflect these changes so the causes you care about most aren't left out.

Discover the many different ways you can use your will or trust to support the most important people and organizations in your life.

Where to Find Assistance
Your estate planning attorney is the best resource when it comes to updating your plans. If you're interested in supporting Willamette University through your estate plans, we would be happy to work with you and your advisors to find a giving option that works for you. Contact Stephen S. Brier at (866) 204-8102 (toll free) or 503-370-6022 (direct) or