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Estate planning joy comes from charitable giving

When it comes to planning an estate, there are many aspects of the process the people find depressing. Considering the details of one's death or physical incapacitation is not a joyful experience, but there is an estate planning approach that might make the topic far more palatable. For those in Tennessee who are committed to charitable giving, structuring charitable gifts within an estate plan can be a deeply rewarding thing.

It is estimated that only 10 percent of Americans include charitable gifts within their estate plans, although more than 70 percent will make gifts during their lifetimes. For religious families, tithing a percentage of monthly household income is a practice that extends throughout the course of their lives. It is possible to continue giving even after one's death, by including charitable gifts within the estate planning package.

One way to do so is to create a donor advised fund, or DAF, as part of the estate plan. This approach brings surviving children into the process, and authorizes them to direct funding to various nonprofit organizations. It is possible to create a DAF that is highly structured, or to allow adult children to manage the fund as they see fit.

Another approach is to consider charitable gifts as an additional "child" within the estate plan. In this manner, assets would be divided among the number of children and the designated charitable causes. It is possible to clearly outline which charities will receive a share of those assets.

These are just some of the available options for Tennessee families who are considering charitable giving. For many people who view the process in a negative light, focusing on structuring charitable gifts can make the overall estate planning process seem less daunting. That can be the first step in helping families complete this very important task.

Source:, "Mike Goorhouse: Finding joy in your estate plan", Mike Goorhouse, Oct. 19, 2016

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