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Charitable estate planning for childless, wealthy young people

Many young Florida professionals have high-paying jobs and a large number of assets but no children. For some, this may make estate planning seem unnecessary. However, estate planning can be about more than just ensuring that loved ones are provided for in the event of a person's passing. Estate planning can also be about a person's legacy. Some wealthy, childless young people are choosing to engage in charitable planning -- that is, allocating their assets to various charities in an estate plan.

According to one article, age does not play as big of a part as wealth when it comes to charitable planning. One expert said that anyone in possession of $100,000 or more will not want to leave this world without an estate plan. In the absence of an estate plan, a court-appointed executor will handle a person's assets. Essentially, all of that person's hard-earned money is turned over to the state. This is not an outcome that many desire.

Young people with high assets -- like Mark Zuckerberg -- are increasingly turning to charitable giving. Financial advisers and charitable foundations claim that an increasingly high number of young people are facing tough decisions regarding how they should distribute their wealth. Charitable planning offers a way for such people to do something meaningful with their assets.

What keeps many from engaging in estate planning is that it forces people to confront mortality, according to one article. Without children or heirs, it can sometimes become even more challenging to get people to start the estate planning process. However, with the knowledge that their wealth can be used to make a philanthropic impact, many come to see the value of drafting a well-structured estate plan.

Source: Reuters, "Estate planning for the young, rich and childless," Beth Pinsker, June 2, 2014

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