Estate planning for families is important. It allows a person to plan for the care and wellbeing of their family members and loved ones long after they have passed. What about people who do not have families to consider? More and more people are staying unmarried; according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 45% of adults were unmarried in 2012. Many adults are also childless, either voluntarily or involuntarily. These lifestyle choices do not, however, mean that estate planning is any less necessary.
Planning for Your Self
Estate planning isn’t just about planning for the distribution of your assets after your passing. It is also the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out when it comes to medical care, end of life procedures, and funeral plans.
Healthcare directives are set up to give clear instructions at to what level of medical care you wish to receive in your last days. This document allows you to maintain some sense of control when you are no longer able to make decisions.
Funeral and burial instructions can also be carefully laid out as part of your estate plan. These instructions can be as general or as specific as you would like. Many people choose to leave funding instructions for their funerals as a way to relieve some of the stress and financial burden on those left behind.
Expression of Self & Character
Your estate plan is an expression of your wishes. Distribution of your assets can be a wonderful way to express your inner self. Consider choosing charitable organizations or associations that are dear to your heart. Leaving your estate to organizations allows you to do a lot of good and make an impact for years to come.
Charitable giving strategies are an obvious benefit for the charity, but also provide tax advantages for the donors. These giving strategies include:
- Outright Gifts: The simplest strategy is to give outright to a charity. These gifts can be designated through a will or trust. These gifts can then be used as a deduction to lower the donor’s estate taxes.
- Charitable Remainder Trusts: A charitable remainder trust (CRT) also provides tax benefits. A CRT is an irrevocable, tax-exempt trust created by the donor transferring assets to the trust. The trustee then invest the trust’s assets and pays the donor an income stream for a certain period of time. At the end of the donor’s lifetime, the charity keeps the remaining trust assets.
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