Top 10 Things you can do to LEAVE A LEGACY

1. Prepare a will. Only 40% of those who pass away have one. Without a will, you may lose control over the assets you wish to pass along.

2. Leave a gift in your will for the non-profit organizations that make a difference in your life. Americans are generous - 70% of us give to charity each year. Surprisingly, less than 6% of persons in American households have included non-profits in an estate plan. Imagine the positive impact on our community if everyone made a donation to their favorite organizations!

3. Leave a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the assets in your will to the agencies of your choice.

4. Consider using appreciated assets to fund current charitable gifts and planned gifts during your lifetime. These include, but aren't limited to stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, real estate, vehicles, art and jewelry. Such gifts may even provide income tax savings.

5. Name one or more charities as a beneficiary of your pension plan, IRA, retirement plan. Doing so can avoid estate and income taxes (up to 70%) that might otherwise be due when your plan is paid out. Because of the legal and tax complexities of dealing with these types of accounts, be sure to seek the advice of an attorney or accountant when designating a charity as partial beneficiary of a retirement account.

6. Name your favorite non-profits as the owner and/or beneficiary of a new or existing life insurance policy.

7. Call your favorite non-profits about special funds you can support.

8. Remember loved ones with memorial gifts.

9. Encourage family and friends to leave gifts to non-profits in their wills.

10. Ask your professional advisors to include charitable giving when they counsel their other clients.

and here's a bonus...

11. Contact your favorite charities, and use professional advisors who support