Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Passing On Values Through Estate Planning

TrustsWhen a person passes on his or her wealth based on his or her values that person engages in "spiritual" estate planning. This is a growing trend among the baby boomers generation. In fact, many of them are more likely to bequeath property to their favorite charity than past generations. However, spiritual estate planning is more than charitable gifting. It is the act of leaving money with a purpose. The process affects how a person chooses to leave money and who should benefit from that person's wealth. This has become important in an era where many family are more blended, with step-children and second or third marriages.

Spiritual estate planning can take many forms. For example, estate planners are urging their clients to consider whether they have passed on their financial values to their potential heirs. This evaluation by the person could lead to same the choice of who to give his or her property to but a different transfer method might be used, such as placing the property in a trust. Many parents are also making the decision to leave greater amounts of money to their less fortunate children. Under these circumstances, parents might want to discuss their decisions with their children as to prevent resentment from some of the children. 

See Donna Gehrke-White, 'Spiritual' Estate Planning Passes on Values of Departed, Sun Sentinel, Nov. 11, 2012.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) and Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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