When you think about your estate plan you probably think about your money, your family, and how you might want to fairly distribute inheritances to your family after you die. But estate planning is not always about your family. For many people, the question of how to distribute inheritances is not so much about how to distribute them between siblings, children, grandchildren, or stepchildren, but how to distribute them between the charitable organizations or other recipients that are not related to you. Today we are going to take a look at what issues you might need to consider when your estate plan is not only about your family.
Estate Planning and Charities
Many people want to donate to charitable organizations through their estate plan. Whether it is a charity with which they have worked in the past, a religious organization they may have been a part of all their lives, their alma mater, or any other charitable organization, donating to charities through your estate plan is not usually difficult.
In most situations, a simple inheritance plan can allow you to donate to one or more charities in a variety of ways, such as by leaving direct donations through your will or living trust. In other situations, additional tools may be needed.
Estate Planning and Causes
For those who want to contribute more to causes rather than individual charities, a charitable giving plan that relies on one or more types of charitable trusts is often the better alternative. Through charitable giving plan you create one or more trusts that will be designed to give to organizations that protect causes or advance social issues about which you feel strongly. Charitable giving plans can create organizations that support such causes for years, or even decades, after you are gone.
Estates, Inheritances, and Your Family
In the end, choosing how you might want to distribute your estate after you die is entirely up to you. Only you know whether you want to leave some or all of your property to your family members, or choose alternative recipients such as charities or other worthwhile causes.
As a word of caution, it’s important to note that your inheritance decisions are, for all intents and purposes, already made for you if you don’t create an estate plan of your own. Every state, including Florida, has laws that predetermine who will inherit your property after you die, and in most situations your property will go to your spouse or closest family members should you die without an estate plan.
On the other hand, if you choose to create an estate plan, you can leave your property to whomever you like as long as that plan meets any necessary legal requirement.