We continue to seek and depend on contributions from friends, but in the long run our future will depend on special gifts from long-time friends who want to help us become stronger and more stable in the future.

One of the many ways that you can choose to express your deep commitment is by naming Michigan Radio in your will or trust.

Some of our most significant gifts have come from the estates of ordinary contributors who decide to share a portion of their accumulated assets later on, after taking care of family and friends.

Some Questions You May Have

Do I really need a will?

Yes. Every adult can and should leave instructions as to what will become of their property when they no longer need it. In the absence of these instructions, state laws take over and your property may be distributed to distant relatives, or possibly to the state itself.

But I don’t really have an “estate.”

If you take time to record all of the property you own, you may be surprised to see that it begins to add up. And, if you have particular items that you would like to go to certain individuals, your will can help accomplish that. Regardless of the size of your estate, you can benefit by taking the time to see an attorney and have a simple will drafted.

What if I already have a will?

Your will may be just fine as it is, but many people find that changes in circumstances may affect their plans. Marriages, births, deaths, divorces and other changes, such as moving to another state, are all good reasons for reviewing your plans.
If your previous beneficiary wishes have changed, you may want to update your plans. And if you would like to leave part of your legacy to worthy causes and institutions, including Michigan Radio, this may be the time to take action.

What about trusts?

More and more people have supplemented their estate plans with a tool known as a revocable living trust. Property may be transferred at death via instructions in the trust just as it would with a typical will. The trust allows you to provide for the management of assets while you are still living and may help save your survivors estate taxes. Trusts also can add peace of mind about what might happen with should you become unable to manage your assets. Trusts may also be useful in providing support for dependents.

With such a trust, do I still need a will?

Yes. You will still need at least a simple will to take care of “loose ends.” Such a will may simply direct that any property not already in the trust be transferred to it to be handled along with the other trust assets

Is this planning expensive?

That depends on the complexity of your situation. In most cases, the cost of planning is much less than you might think and may be less than the fees, bonds and taxes that might be due unnecessarily in the absence of good planning. An attorney should be willing to give you an estimate of fees in advance to help you make your decision.

Is my will private?

Unless you choose to share it, your will remains private as long as you are living. Upon death, wills generally become part of the public record available from the court. Trusts, on the other hand, can remain confidential.

What if I already named Michigan Radio in my will or trust?

If you have, thank you! We’d love to know more about it so that we can more fully understand how you would like us to use your gift. And if you prefer, we will keep the news of your bequest intention confidential. We understand that you may prefer to not share specific amounts or if you have no way of knowing what might be left over for your charitable gifts. A conservative estimate is enough for us to use the information for planning purposes. But of course, your bequest is completely revocable.

Getting Started

There are many ways to plan special gifts for Michigan Radio and your other charitable interests; a bequest through your will is just one. Whatever your plans may be, we encourage you to call or write for more information, without obligation.

Contact Larry Jonas, Director of Development, at ljonas@umich.edu or (734) 763-3416.