There is a lot we can learn from a triathlon, even if we have never run a race. Any competitor will tell you that to finish well, you must have a plan, and that plan has three parts:
To win a triathlon, a competitor must be an excellent swimmer, bicyclist and runner. The athlete must master not only these events but also the transitions between these disciplines. A triathlete’s ultimate goal is to cross the finish line first. While a triathlete can be finely tuned and train for life, he or she may still come in second place, or lower.
However, we don’t have to finish first to have a successful future. Everyone has the power to win. Unlike the triathlete, we don’t have to train, and there are no sacrificial diets or exercise regimens. The cost for having an estate plan is minimal compared to the investment a triathlete makes, but the rewards are remarkable.
Like the triathlete, the first step in estate planning is always the most difficult: STARTING. A triathlete in training will tell you the battle is not with the body but with the mind. Mental preparation, more than physical exercise, is the key to victory. In the same way, estate planning is never about the things you have, although they all are mentioned. Estate planning is always about the values and people important to you. Estate planning helps you choose how to provide for those people and causes you cherish. The things you own or control are simply tools available to you to help you accomplish that.
- When you no longer need your house, who do you want to receive it?
- What family member(s) need you now and will need you in the future?
- Who would be the best steward of your baseball card collection, jewelry or class ring?
- Do you have any assets that can be changed from tax-burdened to tax beneficial?
To help you begin and even give you a head start, we have free tools that make getting started easy. Once you have them and use them, you have already completed step two—preparation. You are 2/3 of the way to victory! The final step is easiest—completion. It comes when your attorney combines your preparation into a solid, thoughtful plan that follows and preserves your wishes. What could be easier or more rewarding than that?
Part of the thrill of winning a triathlon is the fulfillment of mastering its three key parts—swimming, bicycling and running—as well as the two transitions between them. An athlete knows they must train in all these to win. Each is different, but all propel the competitor closer to the finish line. Fortunately, as you plan your estate, you can choose the parts and tools you want. You can use any and are not required to use any one. As you think about your plan, here are some of the more common tools for you to think about:
BEQUEST—the most common and powerful tool. You can use your will to list the people and causes important to you and direct almost any assets you have to them.
BENEFICIARY DESIGNATION—like the transitions in a triathlon, this one is often overlooked but can play a pivotal role. Consider naming family, friends and causes as the beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k) or investment account. The transition happens almost automatically, is not part of your will and is often done by completing a simple form.
TESTAMENTARY CRUT—A testamentary charitable remainder unitrust, or CRUT, is a trust created in your will that does special things. The trust pays each year at a rate you choose to the people you choose for as long as you choose. After the trust ends, all remaining funds go to the charity you support, which provides your estate with significant tax savings.
A triathlete trains for years for the momentary thrill of crossing the finish line first. You can spend what amounts to a moment to produce years of ongoing fulfillment and satisfaction. Think of the joy and happiness you will receive for completing your estate plan and knowing how it will positively impact the people and causes you care about.
There are two ways to access the information:
Option 1 – go to Trinity Health Foundation’s website, foundation.trinityhealth.org, click on the Donate to the Foundation section, then select Planned Giving from the menu items.
Option 2 – go directly to the planned giving portion of the website using this URL – https://trinityhealthnd.giftlegacy.com/