Estate Planning and Charity

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Calygos
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Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Calygos » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:35 pm

Hi all,

I've started working with an Estate Attorney (introduced through my sister and her husband a few months ago, they love the guy and can't say enough good things about him). I just sent in my initial paperwork with information about my accounts and beneficiaries towards setting up a trust. I had an initial call with him but I apparently wasn't prepared for that with respect to considering my beneficiaries. I'm in my early 40s and the youngest in my family. Ideally speaking, I'd be the last one to go, so there would be no beneficiaries at that point. (Obviously if I'm not the last one, that's a different can of worms as far as family beneficiaries goes, and I've pretty much got that sorted out).

I'm just trying to think about what I might want to happen to my estate (mid 6-figures currently) once I'm gone, beyond ensuring any expenses are covered first. I know a lot of people give their to charities, etc. but oddly enough, I can't think of anything that I feel particularly strong enough about right now, but I'd like to have something to put down initially on my trust though I know anything I do put can be changed at any time in the future.

I'm just curious to know how you all went about deciding on any charitable giving with respect to your estates.

jebmke
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by jebmke » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:41 pm

Calygos wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:35 pm
Ideally speaking, I'd be the last one to go
Ideally, you'd never go, right? :P

One thing to look into if you don't have specific charities that you currently feel strongly about is a foundation that supports multiple charities. These can range from giant ones like the Bill Gates Foundation to smaller, community foundations. In my area there is an excellent community foundation that supports many local charties in the community. They offer a variety of services ranging from Donor Advised Funds to Endowment Funds etc.

https://www.cof.org/foundation-type/com ... s-taxonomy
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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dm200
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by dm200 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:44 pm

Calygos wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:35 pm
Hi all,
I've started working with an Estate Attorney (introduced through my sister and her husband a few months ago, they love the guy and can't say enough good things about him). I just sent in my initial paperwork with information about my accounts and beneficiaries towards setting up a trust. I had an initial call with him but I apparently wasn't prepared for that with respect to considering my beneficiaries. I'm in my early 40s and the youngest in my family. Ideally speaking, I'd be the last one to go, so there would be no beneficiaries at that point. (Obviously if I'm not the last one, that's a different can of worms as far as family beneficiaries goes, and I've pretty much got that sorted out).
I'm just trying to think about what I might want to happen to my estate (mid 6-figures currently) once I'm gone, beyond ensuring any expenses are covered first. I know a lot of people give their to charities, etc. but oddly enough, I can't think of anything that I feel particularly strong enough about right now, but I'd like to have something to put down initially on my trust though I know anything I do put can be changed at any time in the future.
I'm just curious to know how you all went about deciding on any charitable giving with respect to your estates.
Not applicable to me/us (long story), but a few years ago my late father faced the same issues. He was then in his 80's - so much older than you.

He was a substantial supported of his (and my) religious denomination and one "program" in particular. It was his intent to leave a significant amount (not sure if a dollar amount or a percentage) to this program of his religious denomination. His estate attorney advised (strongly) against this approach. The attorney told my father that by doing this - the denomination's clergy in that office would or could tie up final settlement of his estate to do their best to get every nickel they could possibly get. The attorney advised to leave that denomination/program nothing in his will but rather make donation(s) of a similar amount while still alive. His will (with my brother as executor) settled very quickly and with a minimum of expense.

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dm200
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by dm200 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:45 pm

Calygos wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:35 pm
Hi all,
I've started working with an Estate Attorney (introduced through my sister and her husband a few months ago, they love the guy and can't say enough good things about him). I just sent in my initial paperwork with information about my accounts and beneficiaries towards setting up a trust. I had an initial call with him but I apparently wasn't prepared for that with respect to considering my beneficiaries. I'm in my early 40s and the youngest in my family. Ideally speaking, I'd be the last one to go, so there would be no beneficiaries at that point. (Obviously if I'm not the last one, that's a different can of worms as far as family beneficiaries goes, and I've pretty much got that sorted out).
I'm just trying to think about what I might want to happen to my estate (mid 6-figures currently) once I'm gone, beyond ensuring any expenses are covered first. I know a lot of people give their to charities, etc. but oddly enough, I can't think of anything that I feel particularly strong enough about right now, but I'd like to have something to put down initially on my trust though I know anything I do put can be changed at any time in the future.
I'm just curious to know how you all went about deciding on any charitable giving with respect to your estates.
Maybe start a DAF with a modest amount - and then put your DAF as the charitable beneficiary. As time goes on, you can learn about causes you want to support and make default changes to the DAF.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:37 pm

Nieces?
Nephews?

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

gd
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by gd » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:24 pm

You've got an unspecified plan if you're not the last survivor, and are in your 40s. You aren't going to be the last survivor for a long time. Honestly, it doesn't really matter unless you all get hit by a meteor at a family gathering. Pick some stuff based on whims and interests, check for high-rated names with something like Charity Navigator, and gradually give it more thought over the next few decades-- or not. Be advised there's a lot of cruddy "charities", including a lot of big names. I had a somewhat similar thought process a decade or two ago, and found the process took me in interesting directions- I started paying attention to issues I hadn't given much thought to, particularly smaller local issues I could make a difference with. Personal opinion-- keep it to yourself, both with relatives and organizations. Let them be surprised. If you want glory and admiration when you're alive, give it to them now.

Calygos
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Calygos » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:49 pm

jebmke wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:41 pm
Ideally, you'd never go, right? :P
I'm going to live forever or die trying.
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:37 pm
Nieces?
Nephews?
Nope, I am definitely the last.

I like the DAF idea, I'll look into that. Thank you for the feedback, everyone.

bsteiner
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by bsteiner » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:08 pm

The choice of charities is a personal choice. Some people favor the schools they went to. Others favor some worthy cause.

If you're in your 40s and have a modest estate and no one you want to provide for, why do you want to create a trust?

Kompass
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Kompass » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:00 pm

I’m the last of the line in my family and have decided to go the DAF route in order to make sure assets don’t just go to some state treasury when I die. I don’t plan on dying soon (57) but accidents happen. As I research possible recipients I like knowing it’s flexible and until I’m gone I can change things about as I learn without having to redraw papers.

Learning about the unintended side effects of misdirected giving has been an eye opener.

A documentary called “Poverty Inc” is a good introduction. I saw it on Netflix.
The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away.

47Percent
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by 47Percent » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:25 pm

Choice of charity is very personal. But since you are asking I will dare give my 2 cents.

Specific local charities, specific causes, and even nameable big causes seem to attract some funding somehow.

But fuzzy, long term things like saving the planet, mitigating global warming, destruction of habitat of animals etc. have difficulty in attracting funding as there is no one specific immediate impetus, difficulty in seeing the effect of one's contribution, and more importantly lack of any obvious personal connection unless one looks inward and finds it.

But unless this works out, money poured on everything else will turn out be for naught.

msk
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by msk » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:56 am

I am averse to the idea of bequeathing to charities upon my death and strongly believe that MY charitable donations should be while I am alive and I am actually sacrificing something of value to me, giving it to somebody less fortunate. My biggest donation to date was to my alma mater, 7 figures. They helped me when I desperately needed scholarships/financial aid and I feel obligated to help others in circumstances similarly dire to what I experienced in my youth. I make other ongoing smaller donations to the "hungry" of this world. Just look around and you will see plenty, but they need not be included in a trust. At age 40 I would not worry too much about the details in your trust. Your feelings and views will evolve into your 50s and 60s and 70s and you will have to modify documents accordingly.

Calygos
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Calygos » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:43 am

bsteiner wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:08 pm
The choice of charities is a personal choice. Some people favor the schools they went to. Others favor some worthy cause.

If you're in your 40s and have a modest estate and no one you want to provide for, why do you want to create a trust?
The trust is primarily to deal with my assets if I am not the last to go. If I am, it's kinda moot as I really won't care, being dead and all, but might as well have some final orders in there just for the heck of it. :)

Calygos
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Calygos » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:48 am

msk wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:56 am
I am averse to the idea of bequeathing to charities upon my death and strongly believe that MY charitable donations should be while I am alive and I am actually sacrificing something of value to me, giving it to somebody less fortunate. My biggest donation to date was to my alma mater, 7 figures. They helped me when I desperately needed scholarships/financial aid and I feel obligated to help others in circumstances similarly dire to what I experienced in my youth. I make other ongoing smaller donations to the "hungry" of this world. Just look around and you will see plenty, but they need not be included in a trust. At age 40 I would not worry too much about the details in your trust. Your feelings and views will evolve into your 50s and 60s and 70s and you will have to modify documents accordingly.
I've never really donated much to charity in my life, never felt a strong compulsion to do so, and that includes my university (I would have picked elsewhere but it was an in-state school and I had some scholarships and some family ties there). I guess that's why I don't have any strong feelings towards any specific charities now. I guess we'll see what happens if/as I get older.

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dm200
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by dm200 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:57 am

Kompass wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:00 pm
I’m the last of the line in my family and have decided to go the DAF route in order to make sure assets don’t just go to some state treasury when I die. I don’t plan on dying soon (57) but accidents happen. As I research possible recipients I like knowing it’s flexible and until I’m gone I can change things about as I learn without having to redraw papers.
Learning about the unintended side effects of misdirected giving has been an eye opener.
A documentary called “Poverty Inc” is a good introduction. I saw it on Netflix.
Even if there are no more family members, if there are friends and acquaintences who do or would continue to support the causes you would support - you can name such folks as successors to manage the DAF. That is what we plan for our modest DAF - perhaps our son - and perhaps others. The organizations we support would not (for several reasons) be able to receive a lump sum and spread its use over upcoming years.

Alan S.
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by Alan S. » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:53 pm

In addition to beneficiaries, do not forget the importance of who will be your successor trustee. That job may not be easy and often the selection is not easy either.

As in the case of selecting an executor or alternate executor, the trade off in selecting your successor trustee often comes down to the detached professional vs. the known but often incompetent or procrastinating family member.

gd
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by gd » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:54 am

If you want to go local, look into Community Foundations. Like DAFs but may have more management services in house to distribute your estate with instructions. Mine is limited to area charities only. Doesn't sound like you have the attachment for this, so be careful.

BTW, my alma maters forgot I was alive for 25 years, then... things changed. They'll be back, and can't be turned off. I've considered sending them "I'm dead" letters, but am afraid that'll just excite them more.

jebmke
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by jebmke » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:28 am

gd wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:54 am
BTW, my alma maters forgot I was alive for 25 years, then... things changed. They'll be back, and can't be turned off. I've considered sending them "I'm dead" letters, but am afraid that'll just excite them more.
Good luck with that. I moved out of the country for a few years but they found me. There is nowhere to hide. I don't know why we spent so much money trying to find Osama bin Laden - we should have just checked where the fundraisers for his university were being mailed.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

JustCurious304
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by JustCurious304 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:27 pm

I like the website charitynavigator for learning about categories of charities and how they're rated. I donate to certain ones each year that are top rated and will include a few of my favorites in my trust.

letsgobobby
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Re: Estate Planning and Charity

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:35 am

Calygos wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:35 pm
oddly enough, I can't think of anything that I feel particularly strong enough about right now, but I'd like to have something to put down initially on my trust though I know anything I do put can be changed at any time in the future.

I'm just curious to know how you all went about deciding on any charitable giving with respect to your estates.
Your challenge is not figuring out which charity to support upon your death, it's figuring out how to open your heart while still alive. The answer to your question will flow naturally from that process. That is, the charities named in my will are the same charities and causes I support right now.

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