In years past, estate planning used to be simpler. There were fewer different types of possessions and investments, fewer retirement accounts and stock options, fewer rules and regulations, and there was less variety in family units.
Nowadays, estate planning is more complex, but it also leaves more choice in the hands of the estate planner.
Whereas in years past, possessions were almost always passed directly from parents to children, it’s becoming more and more common for individuals to leave their possessions to charities.
The decision to leave things to charities instead of loved ones should not be made rashly, however. There are some important questions for individuals to ask themselves before they draw up the paperwork. The first things to ask are: “What are my priorities? What are my values? Where will my money/possessions do the most good?”
It is quite possible that something like a $50,000 donation to charity could be the most important factor. It is also possible, however, that that same $50,000 could be donated to a young relative struggling to fund their college education. The decision is yours.
Obviously you can split your estate up between loved ones and charities, but you will still need to decide where the line is drawn. You could split everything right down the middle, or you could leave all physical possessions to loved ones and all money to charity.
Another thing that is incredibly important is to pay attention to charities themselves before committing your money to them. Pay close attention to how they manage their finances, how much is taken off the top for administration fees and the like, etc.
If you are interested in leaving some of your estate to charity, get in touch with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to provide you with advice and recommendations. You never know, your donations to charity could save lives.