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5: The Basic Planning Tools

Although a will is the essential estate planning tool, it is not, as most people believe, carved in stone. A will may reflect your written intentions for the disposition of your estate but unfortunately it may not be the final word; there are several instances where the instructions of a will can be overridden by:

  • Property held in trust
  • Named beneficiaries of retirement plans
  • Partnerships or other business agreements
  • State laws

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the basic tools of estate planning so you and your planner or planning team can make the best informed decisions regarding the distribution of your assets.

  1. Your will
  2. Substitutes for wills
  3. Revocable trust basics
  4. Other estate planning tools

Next: Who Can Help You


The material presented on this Planned Giving website is not offered as legal or tax advice.
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Meet our Wheeler Society Members

Laura Strickler '94

"I would recommend to others who are thinking about planned giving to do it early, before you have kids. Carve out a little chunk to give to the Colleges and you'll never miss it."

(Retirement Plan)

Wheeler Society Booklet