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Michigan engineer turns philanthropist with charitable giving

When a person owns substantial assets, a will or trust can play an important part in the distribution of these assets. However, some people would prefer a more complex estate plan than simply passing on their assets to their children or partner. If someone gives assets to a charity, either through a charitable trust or outright donation, it can be beneficial to check how this will affect the overall administration of the estate, particularly with regard to tax issues and benefits when it comes to charitable giving.

A 43-year-old former engineer who worked in Michigan in the auto industry has given away three plots of land from his late wife's estate to Habitat to Humanity. The charity, which helps people get onto the housing ladder, has built several homes on the lots, and families are already living happily in them.

The man, who originally comes from Tokyo, came to the US when he was 15 on a cultural exchange program. He originally trained as an engineer, but later he took advantage of his knowledge of social work and desire to help people and retrained as a social worker. Because his wife had a background in real estate, the couple oversaw a number of properties. They focused on keeping their tenants happy. His wife's father spent his later years in San Angelo, Texas, where the lots are located.

When donating land and the like to charities or organizations, benefactors often want to make sure that the donation is used in the spirit intended. It helps to seek advice to make sure this happens and is properly stated in any will or trusts created to handle the charitable gift and specify its purpose.

Source: Standard-Times, "Man donates land to Habitat," Kelley Shannon, Sept. 28, 2012

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