It was Benjamin Franklin who once said that nothing in this world can be certain except death and taxes. When estate planning, we need to pay specific attention to what occurs when these two certainties collide.
“CHRISTMAS IS THE SPIRIT OF GIVING WITHOUT A THOUGHT OF GETTING. IT IS HAPPINESS BECAUSE WE SEE JOY IN PEOPLE. IT IS FORGETTING SELF AND FINDING TIME FOR OTHERS. IT IS DISCARDING THE MEANINGLESS AND STRESSING THE TRUE VALUES.”
– THOMAS S. MONSON
No other time of year personifies the spirit of giving more than Christmas. We thought it was the perfect time to share a little bit about how charitable giving can impact your estate plan.
Most are aware that a charitable gift on death has a beneficial impact upon an estate. To understand how this benefit arises, we must first look at what tax liability arises at death.
Last week the world said goodbye to one of its musical legends, the incomparable Aretha Franklin. Just days after her funeral, reports began surfacing that she had in fact died without leaving a last will (called dying ‘intestate’). In this respect, she joins a surprisingly long list of celebrities who have died without a will including Michael Jackson, Prince, and Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few.
Whenever we hear of yet another celebrity dying without a will, we are reminded that the importance of having a will cannot be overstated. And so we take this opportunity to once again reiterate some of the many reasons why you should ensure you have a valid, up to date will.
The good news is, yes, it is possible to achieve both of these estate planning goals. The bad news is that the situation can lead to friction among the parties involved.
In a Will, you can grant an individual (or more than one) a ‘life interest’ in a real property. This may be a specific property or may be drafted more generally to include any property that is being used as a principal residence at the date of your death. A life interest gives the individual (or ‘life tenant’) the right to use and occupy the property for the duration of their lifetime. The Will will go on to specify how the property shall be dealt with upon the death of the life tenant.
We often encounter this type of estate planning in second marriages.