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Senior Spectrum Publications

Family Estate Planning Series - Too Good to Refuse

by Chris Askin
President and CEO
Community Foundation of Western Nevada

Chris Askin
Chris Askin

How many times do you get invited to a presentation and your reaction is "No way!" Do offers for free dinners in connection with timeshares spring to mind? From experience, we have learned to be skeptical of things labeled free. They seem too good to be true. But, over the past ten years the Community Foundation, in connection with KNPB and a dozen local charities, has underwritten a free seven-week series on titled "Family Estate Planning". More than 1,000 local people have attended. I think all of them would tell you that you should consider attending too.

I promise you that no charity and no presenter will receive your contact information, and you will not be solicited for business by any presenter, nor solicited by any charity. Why then do the charities underwrite this series, and why do local professional advisors speak for free? The answer is simply that the best financial and estate planning frequently involves charitable giving. Although the classes are open to the general public, the charity sponsors, the Community Foundation of Western Nevada included, invite our donors to take advantage of these workshops. We know that by learning more about proper estate planning, many people will also want to include a gift to their favorite charities in their will or trust. If you choose to include a charitable bequest in your will, you can keep the news to yourself. We don't ask.

We do ask questions of the professional advisors who present at the classes. We ask about their qualifications and business structure. An "Ask First" form is completed by all presenters before the class. Through the "Ask First" form, you learn about their education, their credentials and licenses, and how they are compensated for their estate planning services. Their compensation disclosures include some detail about who pays, the amounts or percentages they charge, and if the advisor is receiving payment from a third party. They also disclose if they provide advice, and sell products such as annuities, insurance, or financial products. As an attendee, you learn a lot from reading this form, and the classes have barely begun.

The Family Estate Planning series classes are held weekly at the Sierra View Library. This Fall they will begin on September 21st and run through November 2nd, on seven Wednesdays. Two identical classes are held each Wednesday at, 10:30 a.m. to Noon or 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The classes follow a curriculum that builds each week upon the previous week's information. The classes are thorough, covering not just the fundamentals of estate planning, but also wills, probate, trusts, responsibilities of fiduciaries, executors, and successor trustees. Then the topics move on to more advanced estate planning including power of attorney, health care directives, DNR's, ethical wills, Medicaid and health insurance. I am grateful to the sponsors for making this possible: including Renown Health Foundation, KUNR, United Way, American Heart Association, TMCC, the Food Bank, Nevada Land Trust, Salvation Army, the Boys & Girls Club, our hosts Washoe County Library System, and of course our partner in offering this series, KNPB.

At the first class, each attendee receives a binder and a Will Planning Kit. The kit is a way to organize information about your personal situation and is used throughout the workshops so you can do your actual planning as you learn. By the end of the series, you will know a great deal about each aspect of estate planning. You will also have your plans clear in your mind so you're ready for the final steps which will likely involve a professional advisor you trust.

At each class, you will hear from a charity sponsor about the services they provide in the community. These presentations are a brief three minutes, and as I mentioned, nobody asks you for anything, including your name.

I encourage you to consider attending. To reserve your seat call the Community Foundation at 775-333-5499. Yes, this is an offer that is true, and it is of great value.