We often neglect managing our charitable intentions when finalizing estate plans. It is often assumed our family members will know what we want done. Are there charitable organizations you want to support through your estate? Outlining your charitable intentions in your estate plan is an important first step toward protecting your charitable investments and documenting what is most meaningful to you.
Do you have a foundation or a donor advised fund? Those you choose to succeed you as fund advisor or trustee to the entity need to be prepared. Are the funds to be dispersed in a short period of time, over a set number of years, or is your giving to be in perpetuity? Your trustees will also need to know what the parameters or guidelines for giving are, and why this is important to you. Create giving guidelines they can easily follow and discuss your objectives with them. Attach the guidelines to your estate plans as an exhibit. If you have a foundation, incorporate them into the minutes as policy for the board and future trustees to review.
Use charitable giving to bring members of your family together. It is a great way to get the next generation working together and to teach them about philanthropy. Start by figuring out if they even want to be involved in perpetuating your charitable giving. Do they have philanthropic interests of their own and is this something you want to include in your guidelines for giving?
Philanthropy is one of the ways in which you can pass down your values from one generation to another. Charitable giving can bring together the family generations when there is a clear understanding of your objectives. Don’t neglect this important part of your estate plan. Provide direction and set up guidelines to insure the legacy of giving you intended is realized.