Though estate planning is vital for people of all ages, evaluating your legacy in detail is naturally going to become more relevant to you as you get older. Of course the primary objective is going to be to make sure that your family members are financially provided for, but there are other things to take into consideration as well.
You may inventory your assets and find that you are in a position to indulge your philanthropic urges, and of course this can be very personally rewarding. At the same time, there are tax advantages that can go along with charitable giving and this is another reason why many people include a philanthropic component when they are crafting their legacies.
There are a number of different charitable giving vehicles that can be utilized. The best way to proceed from a procedural standpoint would be to sit down with an estate planning attorney and discuss the matter in detail. He or she will gain an understanding of your intentions, analyze your financial situation, and subsequently make the appropriate recommendations.
How you deliver the funds is certainly part of the equation, but you are also going to want to identify a charity or charities that you feel comfortable contributing to. There is a very good resource online that you may want to tap into at CharityNavigator.org. The site provides in-depth evaluations of literally thousands of different charities, providing a star rating system. It takes into account things like transparency, organizational structure, and the overall financial strength and future viability of the charity.
Another thing to take into consideration is whether or not a charity that you may be considering has attained tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. You can obtain this information on the IRS website.
Giving something back can punctuate your legacy in a profound manner, and it is certainly something to consider when you are planning for the future.