Estate planning attorneys help you to determine what you want to leave behind and how you want to be remembered. Many people hope to leave the world a better place when they pass away than it was before. When you pass away, you want to ensure you have taken the steps to make a positive mark on the world. You may want to ensure your loved ones are financially provided for, give a charitable gift to causes you believe in, or both. Whatever your desires for after your death, you want to develop a strategic plan to accomplish these goals so you control what your legacy is.
At Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC our Smithtown estate planning attorneys are dedicated to legacy planning. We will help you to explore the options available to you and the legal tools that you can use to create a comprehensive estate plan that gives you the utmost control over your legacy. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you to maximize your control over how you are remembered.
Taking Control and Shaping Your Legacy
One of the most important parts of legacy planning involves determining how you can best support causes that you believe in by leaving charitable bequests.
According to the National Philanthropic Trust, the largest source of charitable giving in the United States is individuals. In 2014 alone, 72 percent of giving came from private individuals who donated $258.51 billion to charitable organizations. Foundations were the next largest contributors, giving $53.97 billion and accounting for 15 percent of donations. Bequests totaled $28.13 billion in charitable contributions and accounted for eight percent of giving. Finally, corporations made five percent of all donations and gave $17.77 billion.
There are a variety of strategies you can use to maximize the value of gifts to charity, many of which can help to significantly reduce taxable liability. For example, charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) are irrevocable trusts which are generally funded with highly appreciated property. These trusts are structured with a current beneficiary, who may be a donor or another named individual. The charity is named as a remainder beneficiary when the trust is structured. Any qualified charity can be a remainder beneficiary, including a private foundation.
The named beneficiary can receive a fixed amount of income or a percentage of the value of the property in the charitable remainder trust each year. This income can be paid out for a fixed period of years, for a period up to 20 years, or for the remainder of the named individual’s lifetime. The beneficiary gets income and the creator of the charitable remainder trust enjoys significant tax benefits including the possibility of an immediate income tax deduction and gift tax deduction for a charitable contribution. Investment income from a charitable remainder trust is also not taxable, so appreciated assets can be sold and the full proceeds invested.
Charitable remainder trusts can be valuable in estate planning, as well as a useful tool to reduce taxes during your lifetime. Contributions made to charitable remainder trusts in a will can result in an estate tax deduction and there are no percentage limits on the deduction. Estate planning attorneys can provide you with more advice on charitable remainder trusts and can help you to create a trust to do good work after you are gone.
While giving to charity may be an important part of your legacy, it is likely not the only part of your legacy. You may have a business or a family farm which you want to ensure remains operational after you are gone, and you may have assets that you want to leave to your children or other friends or relatives. A comprehensive legacy plan should include making provisions to distribute assets and to provide gifts to those you care about. Your plan should go beyond a will if you want to shape your legacy, as you may want to use trusts to protect assets, reduce or avoid estate taxes, and maintain more control over assets after your death so they are not lost due to bankruptcy or divorce.
How Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help
A Smithtown estate planning lawyer at Mark S. Eghrari and Associates PLLC can provide you with the assistance that you need to shape your legacy long after you are gone. Give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online today to learn more about how an experienced lawyer can help you. You can also join us for a free seminar to learn more about the services estate planning attorneys offer to those who are interested in legacy planning.