We all have causes we care about. They may be very specific causes, like fighting a certain disease, or more general causes, like helping the community you are a part of become a better place. People can give a lot to the charitable causes they care about during their lives. Also, with the help of estate plans, a person's efforts to help such causes doesn't have to end with their death; estate plans can be set up so portions of the estate are given to charities upon a person's death.
A recently deceased Michigan businessman did this with his estate plan.
The Saginaw businessman passed away this January. His wife had died from cancer last year. Under the man's estate plan, several charities will receive some rather large donations.
Overall, around $10 million of the estate of the man and his wife will go to charities. The largest single donation is around a $7 million donation, which will go to the Saginaw Community Foundation. The causes the other charities that are receiving donations from the estate are involved in include animal protection and cancer care.
Now, not everyone has millions of dollars in their estate at the time of their death. However, many individuals will at least have some money in their estate when they pass away. Through estate planning mechanisms, like wills and trusts, they can direct where this money will go. For many, their wishes for what will happen with their wealth when they are gone may involve charitable donations. Estate planning attorneys can assist individuals who have such a desire with setting up future charitable gifts as part of their estate plan.
Source: mlive, "Saginaw businessman wills $7 million, largest gift ever, to Saginaw Community Foundation," Lindsay Knake, Sept. 19, 2014