When I heard this, I am ashamed to admit that my first thought was “why would a charity get a portion of my inheritance?” … I realize how selfish and ridiculous that was.
After some thought, I began to admire my parents more than ever. After discussing it with them I found out they wanted to teach us one final important life lesson – that we can make a difference. Thankfully, I have not had to wait for my parents to die to learn that lesson. My parents are directing where half of their charitable dollars go; their children will direct the remaining half. I do not look forward to the day that my siblings and I get together to decide where those dollars go because it means that my parents will be gone … however, I know it’s something that will bring us together during what is certain to be a rough time in our lives.
I see the good things that charitable dollars can do for local churches, schools, sports organizations, or other good causes. My wife and I give money and time to several local charities – it is not for the tax deduction (although that does not hurt). We feel good about ourselves and love to support our chosen causes. Additionally, as an estate planning attorney, I have learned to be very creative in helping clients with their charitable intent. I am proud to say I practice what I preach to clients who are charitably inclined.
-- Mike Bennett, Sacramento