Estate and charitable giving planning are intricately intertwined in that they both address how your assets will be distributed. The highest priorities of most people often include providing for their families and supporting charitable causes they believe in. Prudent estate and charitable giving plans can help you accomplish both. Creating an estate plan An estate plan allows you to preserve your family values and ensure that your assets benefit the people and charitable causes in accordance with your wishes. Estate planning provides certainty and control over all you’ve worked for and accumulated during your lifetime. Estate planning is an essential component of a comprehensive financial plan and the foundation of financial planning.
What is a trust? Designed to facilitate wealth transfer and preservation, a trust is a legal agreement between two parties, the person who creates the trust and the trustee (the person, institution or independent trust company responsible for administering the trust.) The trustee manages the assets placed in the trust for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. Typically, trusts are drafted by attorneys. Unlike wills, trusts are not subject to probate and therefore enable you to keep your affairs private and minimize settlement costs and estate taxes. Why you may need a trust Trusts are ideal for all asset levels and offer a number of benefits. You can control what happens to your estate, regardless of its size; possibly reduce estate taxes*; and potentially avoid complications in probate, a lengthy and expensive process that can take six months to two years or longer. But saving on taxes isn’t the only reason for trusts. Some families want to plan for long-term care or education for their children or grandchildren. Others want to provide for a favorite charity. *Raymond James does not provide any tax advice.