Estate planning attorneys help clients on various different levels. If you really want to leave behind a meaningful legacy, there are steps that you can take to provide for your loved ones optimally as you help to strengthen society as a whole.
When you craft your legacy, you consider the impact that you can have after you are gone. For example, let’s say that you are going to be leaving inheritances to younger family members. You could potentially choose to help these loved ones achieve their full potential as human beings.
An incentive trust could be established for a family member who has not completed college. You could instruct the trustee to pay for tuition, books and fees, and living expenses. In the trust declaration, you could stipulate that this arrangement would remain in place as long as the student stays in school.
Perhaps you could allow for a lump sum “reward” distribution upon graduation, and another one could be forthcoming after completion of graduate school.
You can take this a step further after graduation. To instill a work ethic, you could instruct the trustee to match the on-the-job earnings of the beneficiary dollar for dollar. Ultimately, the impact that your educated, motivated family member would have on the community would be significant.
When you are contemplating your own mortality, acts of charitable giving can enter your mind. There are probably certain institutions that have had a positive impact on your life, and you may have certain charitable causes that you care about.
The community is strengthened when good works are supported by its members. Estate planning attorneys advise clients who want to give something back.
There are different ways that you can support charities and nonprofits. We have all heard of high profile private foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Since these are some of the wealthiest families in the country, you may naturally assume that you have to be in this financial stratosphere to start your own foundation.
When you look into the subject, this is really not true. Foundationsource.com is a good place to visit if you would like to learn some things about private foundations. According to the website, there are approximately 91,000 foundations out there. Their research has indicated that two thirds of the foundations in the United States have less than $1 million in funding. They go on to state that it is possible to establish your own foundation with as little as $250,000.
Starting a private donation is not the only way that you can give to charity when you are devising your legacy plan. Donor advised funds can allow you to support multiple different charities through a single act of giving, and the administrative costs are relatively low.
There are also charitable trusts that can be utilized, and there can be positive estate tax consequences as an added benefit.
Estate planning attorneys endeavor to build long-lasting relationships with their clients. When you initially put your estate plan in place, it will be created based on your life circumstances at that time. Things can change as time passes, so you should review your estate plan with your attorney every couple of years.
You should also consider the matter of estate administration when you are planning your estate. Your family is going to be dealing with emotional issues after your passing, and there are also going to be a number of legal oriented tasks that must be handled.
To make things easier on your loved ones, you could arrange for your estate planning attorney to assist with the estate administration process. If a will is used, this would be the process of probate, and there are trust administration issues that must be dealt with if you use a trust as your asset transfer vehicle.
Most estate planning attorneys do everything possible to provide educational opportunities to people in their communities. For example, our firm offers free seminars on an ongoing basis. They cover different important estate planning and elder law topics, so you can educate yourself for free if you attend one of our sessions.
This is another way that estate planning attorneys help to strengthen the community.
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