Planned Giving

Planned gifts are gifts that anyone can afford. They are gifts that can provide hundreds of childcare scholarships and capacity-building grants for years to come while also benefiting you and your loved ones. These gifts can provide valuable tax benefits and even income for life. Listed below are several ways that you can leave a legacy through a gift to SSFC. Participation in this program automatically grants access to our esteemed Platinum Legacy Circle.

Gifts through a will:

  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plans and IRAs
  • Charitable gift annuities

SSFC leadership will be glad to discuss your philanthropic goals and provide further information to you or your agent or financial advisor. Please email us at

Estate Planning: Create A Plan Now for Yourself, Your Loved Ones, And Your Smart Start of Forsyth County Community

estate planning

If you own anything, you have an estate. After your lifetime, your estate is settled however, you have planned for money and property to be left to your family, loved ones, and the charities you care about, like Smart Start of Forsyth County. In general terms, a will or living trust is the legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after you pass on.

Estate planning is for everyone.

It is not just for “retired” people. Unfortunately, you can’t predict how long you will live, and illness and accidents happen to people of all ages. Estate planning is not just for “the wealthy,” although people who have built some wealth do often think more about how to preserve it. Good estate planning often means more to families with modest assets, because they can afford to lose the least. Create your legacy with SSFC and benefit children who are from families just like yours.

Too many people don’t plan.

Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.

If you don’t have a plan, the state has one for you, but you probably won’t like it. If you die without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws of the state. For example, if you’re married and have children, the state could give your spouse half of your estate’s assets, and your children the other half. And the process can take months, and that’s assuming no other creditors or others challenge for part of the estate. There are any number of ways it could go, and if your spouse needs more than a fraction of your estate to survive, there is not a lot of recourse if a legally-binding plan, like a will, isn’t in place. Is that really the legacy you want to leave for your loved ones?

An estate plan begins with a will or living trust.

living trust

A will provides your instructions, but it does not avoid probate. Any assets titled in your name or directed by your will must go through your state’s probate process before they can be distributed to your heirs. (If you own property in other states, your family will probably face multiple probates, each one according to the laws in that state.) The process varies greatly from state to state, but it can become expensive with legal fees, executor fees, and court costs. It can also take anywhere from nine months to two years or longer.

With rare exception, probate files are open to the public, and excluded heirs are encouraged to come forward and seek a share of your estate. In short, the court system, not your family, controls the process.

Not everything you own will go through probate. Jointly-owned property and assets that let you name a beneficiary (for example, life insurance, IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, etc.) are not controlled by your will and usually will transfer to the new owner or beneficiary without probate. But there are many problems with joint ownership, and avoidance of probate is not guaranteed. For example, if a valid beneficiary is not named, the assets will have to go through probate and will be distributed along with the rest of your estate. If you name a minor as a beneficiary, the court will probably insist on a guardianship until the child legally becomes an adult.

For these reasons, a revocable living trust is preferred by many families and professionals. It can avoid probate at death (including multiple probates if you own property in other states), prevent court control of assets at incapacity, bring all of your assets (even those with beneficiary designations) together into one plan, provide maximum privacy, is valid in every state, and can be changed by you at any time. It can also reflect your love and values to your family and future generations.

Unlike a will, a trust doesn’t have to die with you. Assets can stay in your trust, managed by the trustee you selected, until your beneficiaries reach the age you want them to inherit. Your trust can continue longer to provide for a loved one with special needs or to protect the assets from beneficiaries’ creditors, spouses, and irresponsible spending.

A living trust is often more expensive initially than a will, but considering it can avoid court interference at incapacity and death, many people consider it to be a bargain.

The best time to plan your estate is now!

None of us likes to think about our mortality or the possibility of being unable to make decisions for ourselves. This is exactly why so many families are caught off-guard and unprepared when incapacity or death does strike. Don’t wait.

Make an Impact of a Lifetime, After Your Lifetime

Estate Plan Giving is Estate Plan Giving is exactly like it sounds, and it gives you the ability to leave a gift to SSFC through your will or trust. Contact us today for more details. Your Estate Plan Gift provides the following benefits:

  • You have the opportunity to make a major gift while preserving assets during your lifetime.
  • You may realize a reduction in federal estate taxes.
  • You have the opportunity to designate a gift to support a specific program or service offered by SSFC

Note: The information provided on this page is strictly for educational purposes. It is in no way intended to replace the need for sound legal counsel when preparing a will, healthcare directives, power of attorney, and other legal documents, please do so under the direction of practicing estate planning attorney, or comparable service recognized by the state of North Carolina.