With the practice of estate planning, couples and singles alike are able to reach a level of certainty as to how their assets, both physical and financial, will be handled after they have passed. The life of every family is different, and the variety of planned estate arrangements reached in Dallas alone is as vast and sprawling as the state of Texas.
Trends, however, in estate planning still have real traction. One such movement that has been on the rise, especially as more and more baby boomers prepare for both retirement and the prospect of life’s end, has come to be known as “spiritual” estate planning.
Giving credence to not just the monetary terms of a will and estate execution but also the personal values parents wish to pass down to their children, the estate planning of baby boomers has taken a marked interest toward charity, equality, and peacekeeping.
According to Charity Navigator, a nonprofit charity monitor, bequests to charitable organizations are up 19% in the past year. Trust fund creation is also on the rise, with more and more people wanting to regulate how and where the money they leave to posterity is spent. Also, more and more people are leaving different amounts of their assets to different children, with those less financially flush getting a great amount.
Estates complicated by multiple marriages and divorces are also seeing a more comprehensive and value-oriented treatment. Parents must decide who to include among their beneficiaries, as blended families and numerous step-children complicate matters.
Ultimately the primary goal of this more “spiritual” estate planning appears to be a strong urge to pass on personal values to one’s survivors in addition to physical and financial assets. What’s most important throughout the entire process is that families articulate and communicate how they wish to structure the division and allocation of their estate after they’re gone. The help of an attorney can help to ward off undue IRS involvement and make sure both finances and values are passed on as they should be.
Source: LA Times, “‘Spiritual’ estate planning ensures values are passed with money,” Dona Gehrke-White, Novl. 23, 2012
Our firm can help draft the estate plan that best fits your family’s finances and values. For more information, contact our Dallas estate planning law page.