J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

Estate planning can be about a person's legacy

For many Florida residents, estate planning is traditionally done to protect the interests of family members. Estate planning is a great way to ensure that family members are taken care of in the event of a person's passing. Wills and trusts can be drafted that state, in no uncertain terms, how a person's assets will be distributed and when. This ensures that family members are not left quarrelling in courtrooms during an already difficult time.

However, not everyone with an estate plan has a family. In the modern world, it is not that uncommon for older people to go through their lives without having children or grandchildren. Though they may not have heirs, it is still important for these people to go through the process of estate planning. With a well-planned estate, a person with no children can choose to do something with their assets that will manifest their charity and generosity.

One expert claims that such a situation is becoming more and more common. People who are retired or have been diagnosed with potentially fatal illnesses often begin to think about their legacies. They may have a lot of assets but few or no heirs. This leads many to consider paying close attention to charities that they would like to support. They start a relationship with these charities, making sure that the organization responsibly handles funds before deciding to include that charity in a will. Estate planning, then, becomes about the quality of a person's legacy.

Whether people decide to partake in estate planning in order to protect either a legacy or the interests of family members is entirely up to them. Everyone has unique goals when it comes to estate planning, but making sure each decision along the way is well-informed can be a good way to ensure that these individual goals are satisfied.

Source: The New York Times, "In estate planning, family isn't always first," Caitlin Kelly, May 2, 2014

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