When considering whether it is time to update your estate plan, there are three major considerations to make. First, has your asset ‘inventory’ changed? Second, has there been change in your beneficiaries’ relationships or financial status? Third, is your plan still a reflection of what you value most? The answers to these questions may indicate that including charitable giving in your estate plan makes sense.
When taking inventory of your assets, it is important to consider whether an asset still serves a purpose, or if an update is in order. Re-evaluate the intended beneficiaries of specifically bequested policies or accounts. For example, a paid up life insurance policy may have outlived its original purpose, making charitable gifting of the policy an option. Also, changing the ultimate beneficiary of your IRA to a charity should be considered if the current beneficiary is someone other than a spouse, as double taxation can be incurred.
It is also helpful to consider your bequests; if they are divided as percentages, contemplate what that percentage means in actual dollars. Certain bequests may no longer make as much sense as they once did. You may find new opportunity to provide a gift to your favorite charities.
The death of a spouse, divorce, or remarriage are a few of the reasons to review an estate plan. You might also consider the current financial status of your beneficiaries; have children become successful in their careers, making them less dependent on a bequest? Do you have concerns about a spendthrift child? Funding a charitable trust or gift annuity may be a good fit for your situation.
Finally, it is important to give consideration to more than the mechanics of distributing assets. Your trust is meant to serve as a personal testament to your life and the things that are important to you. A carefully considered estate plan tells the story of the people you love and the causes you believe in. As interests and relationships evolve over time, it is important to review your plans to make sure they’re still in line with your wishes.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.