Religion in Estate Planning

shutterstock_165450731Many people place as much or more importance on passing their faith and religious values to their children as they do on passing wealth to their children. It is definitely possible to carry out this important function through the opportunities provided in estate planning.

  • End-of-life Care – By appointing a health-care power of attorney, you can make sure that your faith is honored in your end-of-life care. You can choose someone who shares these values with you and will understand what you are seeking to accomplish. It is still wise to place your wishes in writing regarding medical issues that may interact with your faith. Medical issues like dealing with the unborn child of a pregnant woman, organ donation, the issuance of pain medication, or even a visit by a clergy member of your faith can all be settled before it becomes an issue of contention.
  • Funeral/Burial Arrangements – The religious views of people are evidenced in their preferences for their burial arrangements. It may affect decisions regarding burial, cremation, and other issues regarding the body of the deceased. Others will want their faith honored in the funeral or memorial service.
  • Charitable Giving – Through estate planning, you can make sure that charitable distributions are made to the faith organization of your choice. You also demonstrate to your children your faith preferences through this example.
  • Distributions to Heirs – Passing on an inheritance can do more than just distribute assets. Provisions can be made for the religious education of children and grandchildren in an organization that shares your faith. You can choose a manager for your children’s inheritance who will emphasize your faith as they manage the inheritance. You may also want to leave a letter of instruction that will guide the guardian of your children in teaching your faith to your children.

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