Charitable Trusts

Setting up a charitable trust allows the trustee to decide where their money is going and how they will be remembered.

Establishing your legacy may include making a contribution to an area of your community that was significant in your life. Areas may include sports, the arts, the hospital, the zoo, or your alma mater.

You may ask yourself:

  • What causes are important to me?
  • How will my money (and this charity) further benefit society?

Your Last Will and Testament

Drawing up a will is an important resource regardless of the stage of life you’re in.

It is also important to note that “your will is a living, breathing document, which means you can’t just set it and forget it.”

Updating your will every few years to reflect your changing financial and familial situations allows you to remain in control of your assets and determine how they will be distributed.

Let’s review the basics.

To begin this process, you must first determine your net worth. To do so use this equation:

Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Total Net Worth

Assets include land, buildings, and things that you own outright.

Liabilities encompass debts, mortgages, and anything that you owe.

Steps to Creating Your Last Will and Testament

1. Hire a lawyer— Be sure to choose a lawyer that you feel is trustworthy, honest, and that will hopefully be around longer than you. A lawyer will help you put your affairs in order and ensure you don’t miss anything important.

2. Name your trustee— This person will make sure that the stipulations outlined in your will are met. So, choose someone you know and trust.

3. Decide how your assets will be divided — Planning for every scenario will alleviate additional stress on the part of your trustee when having to make decisions about your personal assets.

4. Name your beneficiaries.

5. Determine if you are contributing to any charity or trust and describe said identity in the will.

6. Outline your end of life decisions in your living will.

7. Update beneficiaries for all your life insurance policies and retirement accounts

“…These are not administered through a will or trust. Whoever is on your beneficiary form will receive the money, so you want to make sure that the death benefit goes to the loved one you intended.”

A Living Will for End of Life Decisions

“A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments.”

A living will outlines your wishes for medical treatment if you are unable to speak or lie in a vegetative state. The document outlines which life prolonging treatments you want and do not want in regards to resuscitation.

Estate Planning and Beyond

Determining how your life will be remembered in the event of your death is an important part of your legacy. Making the big decisions easier for your family by having them outlined in a comprehensive document can be one of the most important choices you ever make. You may determine establishing a charitable trust is the right choice for you or you may deem to divide the assets among family. The most important thing to remember is that it is your decision, and will therefore be the right one.

Bottom Line

Planning the management of your estate after you’re gone is not an easy endeavour. Your financial advisor is an excellent expert example of someone you can speak to in order to work out the details accordingly.