We often think of Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday as ushering in the year-end charitable giving season. Year end, of course, is not only a time for gratitude, as families gather for the holidays, but also a time to start organizing financially for the close of the calendar year. But year-end giving does not need to be short-term giving. So even as you strive to be tax-efficient and timely in your year-end giving, those gifts can be part of a longer-term charitable giving strategy.
What would you like to transfer to your loved ones, in addition to your assets? A memory of the day you fell in love with your life’s partner? Lessons learned from a lifetime of hard work? More and more people are finding that it’s important to share not just the material wealth they’ve accumulated, but also their spiritual wealth and wisdom. They are rediscovering an ancient tool known as an ethical will for transmitting their values to the next generation.
The first step to estate planning is to take inventory of what you have, while keeping in mind what you expect to have in the future. That includes long-term appreciation of securities, real estate, and other investments you own. It also means determining what you and your spouse can expect to inherit from your parents or other relatives once they pass away.This aspect of estate planning isn’t always as obvious—or as easy to discover.