In the past, estate planning wasn't much more complicated than leaving all of your belongings to your kids. In today's world, though, experts note that people are giving to charities more and more often. Three questions you may want to ask if you're considering this are:
Who is responsible for the success you've had?
For example, perhaps you owe a lot of your success to the college you attended. You may then decide to give back by providing scholarships to that college so that others can have the same experience. A trust fund pays for these scholarships every year.
What are your own values?
Many people choose organizations that reflect their own values. For instance, if religion is very important, you may wind up giving to a church or similar religious organization. If you've always wanted to help those in need, you may give to an organization that provides food or clothing for the homeless.
Can you give to your kids and the charities?
Giving to a cause you support doesn't always mean cutting your kids out. Some people simply split the money in half. They leave their tangible assets -- like the house -- and half of the cash to the kids in a trust, then split what remains between a few charities and other organizations. This allows them to do good and leave a legacy, all while taking care of their kids at the same time.
Estate planning is more complex than ever, and you have many options. Make sure you really understand everything you can do and how to set up the estate plan that reflects what you really want to leave behind.
Source: The New York Times, "In Estate Planning, Family Isn’t Always First," Cailtin Kelly, accessed March 24, 2017