As society and family structures change, so change the ways in which people plan their estates. For many Maryland residents, charitable donations figure more largely in estate planning than they did for estate owners a generation or two ago. If you're considering a charitable legacy, then deciding which organizations will receive your assets may or may not be a tough decision, but it will undoubtedly be a philosophical one.
For example, the executive director for a cancer center in another state says that he has seen a growing trend of individuals supporting cancer research with end-of-life donations. Individuals who lived through cancer themselves or had a loved one suffer from cancer often donate.
One woman has worked with a number of charitable and socially conscious organizations throughout her life. She plans to split her estate in half, with 50 percent going to heirs and 50 percent going to charities.
Of course, charitable organizations aren't the only non-family members who might benefit from modern estate planning. For example, assets can be passed on to neighbors, business partners, friends or students -- any person or group that may have had a major impact on your life or someone you love.
Keep in mind, too, that creating and funding a trust is one of the best ways of preserving assets for the benefit of a charity.
While charitable donations may be a larger part of estate planning these days, many people still choose to make their families the top priority. Heirs to an estate can learn more about estate administration at our probate website.