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Using an estate plan to pass values on to loved ones

Georgia residents who are creating an estate plan might wonder how they can use the plan to reinforce the values about money that they want to pass down to their children. This may be part of a lifelong process to impress upon family members that what can be done with money, including helping one another and the community, is more important than the money itself.

One way to do this may be by leaving a portion of the estate to charity. This could be a large organization with any number of focuses or a smaller community organization. When planning what to leave for beneficiaries, a person may want to consider their needs. Children do not all have to be treated equally if they have different resources and life situations. For example, a person may leave more money to a child who works a lower-paying job than one who has a higher salary because that child may otherwise struggle more for financial security.

Trusts may also play a role in the estate plan. If a family member is irresponsible with money, a trust can specify when the beneficiary receives distributions. This might be when the beneficiary reaches a certain age, gets a certain type of degree, keeps debt below a certain amount or any other condition the grantor wishes to place on the distribution.

A person may want to talk to an attorney about other uses a trust might have as well. For example, if there is a family member who is disabled and who receives benefits that would be endangered on inheriting a large sum of money, a special needs trust can be set up to pay certain expenses directly such as rent. Trusts and other estate planning documents should be reviewed regularly to make certain they are still consistent with changes in the family.

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