Giving Thanks and Leaving a Legacy Through Your Estate Plan

Many people use their estate plan to pass along wealth to their loved ones, to pass along their values, and to give thanks. There are several ways to give thanks by using your estate plan. One way to do this is by designating charitable giving or specific gifts that will help ensure your legacy. It is important, however, to balance your income and the needs of your beneficiaries with the available tax incentives.

Your Legacy

While the general purpose of estate planning is to ensure that you and your family are taken care of when most needed, you do not need to limit your estate planning to financial issues. In fact, many individuals use estate planning to pass along family history and traditions through their giving. An estate plan may specify how a beneficiary can use their inheritance such as for college tuition, traveling, or other values that are important to the giver. In addition, you can choose to give to a qualified charitable organization in your will so that the gift is distributed upon your death or incapacity. Gifts to charities can help significantly reduce your federal estate and gift tax liability, and will allow you to support the charitable causes that are meaningful to you.

One estate planning tool that will allow you to pass along your values as well as your wealth is an incentive trust. An incentive trust is a type of trust that includes provisions that reward a beneficiary for achieving a specified range of desired goals or behaviors. The trust may also indicate how the money may be distributed. Another estate planning tool is the charitable lead trust. This type of trust allows payments to be made to the charity during the settlor’s lifetime. When the settlor passes away, or at the end of a specified period of time, the remainder of the assets in the trust go to the decedent’s estate, his or her spouse, or other beneficiaries. A third way to continue your legacy is through a donor-advised fund. A donor-advised fund is similar to a charitable investment account with the specific purpose of supporting charitable organizations. Pre-funded charity gifts can help your family decide which organizations will be financially supported.

These are just some of the estate planning tools available for charitable giving that allow you to pass along values and give thanks with your estate plan.

No matter what your goals regarding your estate plan, it is important to craft a plan that takes advantages of the tools and tax benefits available to you under applicable law. Should you have any questions regarding estate planning, we will be happy to explain the options available to you and your family, and help create the best plan to suit your needs.

Sincerely,
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

Article Authored by Chris Caswell, Esq. ccaswell@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

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