When you leave this world, what will your legacy be? This is a question that Houston trust lawyers work with clients to answer. Sure, your immediate goals probably revolve around making sure that your children and grandchildren are cared for to the best of your ability. But, there may be other interests that you want to support or further with your estate.
Identify Your Interests
For many people, there is no question when it comes to what kinds of causes they want to support. A cancer victim, for example, may be especially motivated to ensure that his or her legacy is dedicated to finding a cure or supporting others living with the disease. Someone who spent significant time volunteering for a particular nonprofit organization may choose to direct funds or energy back toward that group. A die-hard fan of a particular university may want to create a scholarship for students who wish to attend his or her alma mater.
The point is to let your trust lawyer in Houston know what cause or causes truly stir your passion. By identifying your main interest, you can then determine how best to use your estate plan to further it.
One of the most common ways to leave a legacy for a cause is obviously to give them money. Some people will create special life insurance policies for this purpose. Instead of naming a family member as a beneficiary on the policy, you would name the nonprofit instead. In order to do this appropriately, though, you will want to have your trust lawyer look into how to make sure you are within the legal parameters of Houston and the state.
Many nonprofit organizations have made it very simple for supporters to bequeath them funds in this way. You may also have a specific type of activity that you want your money used for. Instead of donating to the general fund of a food bank, for example, you may want your gift to be used specifically to further a particular program that you really believe in or to purchase new freezers to expand their ability to store perishable foods.
Getting the Family Involved
A different aspect of legacy planning has more to do with sharing your passion with your family. To do this, an individual might ask the Houston trust lawyer to put together a trust. Instead of donating money directly to a particular organization or cause, it would go into this trust, which would then be overseen by those you name. In this way, you can give your loved ones the opportunity to become hands-on involved in whatever your passion happened to be.
This does not just give the trustees unfettered access to money to do whatever they want, however. Instead, you can create guidelines for the trust to ensure that the funds are used in ways that you want. There is virtually no limit to how this can be done, so you might direct that your family review proposals. to determine how to award funds annually, or you could ask them to play some other type of role in determining how best to use the trust to further its stated goals.
However you choose to develop your legacy, keep in mind that you will want to work with a trust lawyer who has experience in this area and is aware of the laws that apply to organizations in Texas.