Different charities for a couple?


Question:   My wife and I support different charities. How do you handle that fact in an estate plan?


Answer:  That is a great question! There are many estate planning approaches that you could use for your situation. The most popular approach is that you first mutually agree on the percentage that will go to charities generally, and then you each designate half of that percentage to your individual charities.  Those decisions can then be reflected in your Wills or in your Trust(s), so that your documents and your wife’s documents give the same percentages to the same charities.  With this approach, it does not matter that you may not necessarily agree completely with each other’s charities, or who passes away first, or that one of you has a larger estate or trust than the other.  Each of your gifts to charity can be structured to occur on first death or on second death. 


The most important thing is to not let this issue delay the implementation of your estate plan, because until you resolve this issue, no charities will receive anything from your estate plan!