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Estate Planning & Avoiding Probate: See the Forest, Not Just the Trees

Often times when clients make an appointment with our law firm, they have a very specific estate planning concern or issue. They may have a particular focus in mind, such as updating a will or avoiding probate. With a plethora of details to consider, it is often challenging for individuals to adequately address all aspects of their personal “big picture”, i.e. their complete estate.

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Leaving Money in a Charitable Trust or Will (Part 2)

Leaving Money in a Charitable Trust or Will (Part 2)Why should you contact the charity that you are planning to name as beneficiary?

People often wish to leave money to charities. This blog contains real-world scenarios in which individuals leave assets to charities:

Example #1: Tom has no children and no living relatives. His net worth is about 10 million dollars. Realizing his estate would be taxable, he wanted to strategically make a bequest to his alma mater, the church that he attends, and a hospital that he credits with saving his life.

He contacted his alma mater to inform them of his intentions. He signed a letter of intent specifying the dollar amount of the gift he intended to leave. As a result, the college named an endowment after him, with the funds to be used to create a scholarship.

He spoke with the pastor at his church about his intentions, and he was able to hear about the good work that the church will be able to do as a result of his gift.

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Why Is It Important to Designate a Beneficiary?

A question clients often ask is, “What happens to my assets when I die?

The answer to that popular question depends on what you do while you are alive.

When you die, your assets are essentially bulked into two general categories: (1) Non-Probate Assets; and (2) Probate Assets.

In order to determine if something is a non-probate or probate asset, you must look at the way in which the asset is owned.

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