People may naturally think that creating estate plans is about how to distribute funds to family members. While the distribution of family fortunes is most certainly part of an estate plan, Michigan families may want to think about how they can incorporate their faith and values into that plan. There are numerous ways a person may carry on religious values, traditions or expectations that reach beyond the scope of a dollar amount.

One way to incorporate or continue a means of support for religious values or organizations is to create a charitable trust for a church or charity that matters. It may be a one-time payout of a trust, or this can be in the form of distributions to go on for years to come. These can be very personal decisions for benefactors and beneficiaries.

Another way to personalize giving and ensure that certain values are handed down is through personalizing how funds can be used. This may be through designating money for religious education purposes. Another way to instill certain beliefs is through the act of not giving or limiting funds as a way to enforce hard work and other values held dear.

There are limitless ways to personalize an estate plan, such as through letters left behind and explicit religious requests or requests that reinforce a legacy of giving or charity work. Each estate plan must be a personal journey for an individual and family. Once a Michigan family decides specifics of how best to personalize an estate plan and how best to hand down intangible assets, such as religious beliefs and dedication to certain causes, seeking experienced and compassionate legal help should be the next step, as this will ensure an estate plan results in the outcome desired by a benefactor.

Source:, “Ways to incorporate faith and values into your estate plan“, Carissa Giebel, Jan. 1, 2015

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