Estate planning could involve religion, too

When you need to plan an estate, your religious concerns should be discussed and built into your estate plan. Whatever your religious goals may be, there are legal documents that can help you achieve them in life and after death.

One important step to managing an estate is determining a fiduciary. The fiduciary may be someone with similar religious beliefs or a child or heir raised with the same beliefs. For example, choosing someone with knowledge of your faith, someone who observes the faith themselves and someone who is sensitive to your needs can be a good choice. This person might not be the overall best choice to deal with the monetary investments and fiduciary responsibilities, but it's possible to have another person fill the role of a trustee.

Fiduciaries and agents of the estate should be familiar with your religion if you want to have money and assets doled out for religious education, travel, charitable giving and other purposes that are in line with your religious goals. You could, for instance, designate a certain percentage of your assets to charities within a certain religion or define specifically how much will go to a specific organization that you name.

Upon death, a secular will that has been modified to fit your faith can be used. Inheritances should be handled in ways that match the faith. An estate planning attorney has information about religious and secular wills and how to establish them correctly, so you know that your desires will be heard and your estate will be handled correctly after you pass away.

Source: Wealth Management, "Religion and Estate Planning," Martin M. Shenkman, Sep. 27, 2016

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