Some of the country's wealthiest individuals are known as much for their contributions in business as they are for their charitable giving. Some of these individuals, like investor Warren Buffet, have made public statements about the importance of charitable giving for the nation's wealthiest families and have spoken publicly about giving away wealth both during life and as a part of an estate plan.
In addition to helping the community, including charitable giving through a will or a trust in an estate plan can help avoid arguments and discord among family members. One possibly way to include charitable giving to avoid conflicts is to make gifts during life to family and friends and to leave whatever remains to a charity, thereby eliminating uncertainty for potential heirs.
One Florida estate planning expert suggests making sure that the estate plan is air tight, since many conflicts can arise among siblings and other relatives after the death of a loved one. In many situations, a parent or grandparent may have made verbal promises that contradict or supplement what is in the estate plan, and it can be difficult to resolve those conflicts when the person is no longer able to answer questions.
When the estate plan is secured earlier and during life, families have more of an opportunity to discuss it and to come to an understanding about their loved one's wishes. If those wishes include a substantial gift to a charity or several different causes, it can also be an opportunity to carry on a legacy by getting children and grandchildren involved in the organizations.
This can also be a good opportunity to show leadership on responsible wealth management and to teach younger generations about giving back to their communities.
Source: CNBC, "Smartest Decision Ever Made by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett," Constance Gustke, June 3, 2013