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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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SDSU's planned giving program has partnered with an online estate-planning tool. Pictured above, a pad and pencil for notes to Make a Will. SDSU's planned giving program has partnered with an online estate-planning tool. Pictured above, a pad and pencil for notes to Make a Will.

SDSU Partners with FreeWill

The online will making program allows users to create a legally valid estate document in less than a half hour.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University has partnered with FreeWill, a free online estate planning tool that allows users to create legally valid wills and avoid a potentially lengthy probate process.

The sponsorship was established earlier this year as part of SDSU’s planned giving program, in part to simplify the process of making a legacy gift. The New York City-based business, which started in 2017, currently has more than 1,200 other nonprofits as partners.  

“Creating an estate plan is imperative, it’s the instruction of what to do beyond your life with what you have accumulated during your lifetime," said Amy Walling, associate vice president, planned giving and estates. “Without one, you leave control of your assets to the State of California through the often time-consuming probate process. With one, your intentions become clear and the written directions spare your loved ones from added stress.”

FreeWill can be used through the SDSU portal regardless of whether the university is designated as a beneficiary. SDSU does not have access to the will, and the company does not share information with beneficiaries without the user’s consent.

“People can create their estate plans online themselves in as little as 20 minutes and it doesn't cost them anything,” Walling said.  

The completed documents need only be notarized to have full legal effect; they can be changed or updated online at any time. In California, users also can use the online tool to create a revocable living trust. It is recommended to have such documents reviewed by a trusted advisor.  FreeWill provides referrals to estate planning attorneys affiliated with the National Association of Estate Planning Councils (NAEPC).

More than 530 estate plans already have been created through the SDSU portal. They include 55 plans naming SDSU as a primary beneficiary. At least four others name the university for secondary or tertiary bequests, gifts received only if the primary (or secondary) beneficiary no longer is alive. All those who name SDSU in their estate join the more than 600 members of The Heritage and Legacy Society.

“We care about our alumni, donors and friends. This is for our community and it is a wonderful educational opportunity to better understand options for planned giving,” Walling said. "Offering a tool that guides donors through the estate planning process can help ensure our donors’ wishes are carried out effectively.”

To discuss the FreeWill SDSU Portal services, or name SDSU as a beneficiary, please contact Amy Walling, or 619-508-9255.