Estate planning documents can accomplish a variety of goals, from preserving assets to assigning substitute decision-makers. However, on a grander scale, an estate plan can serve as a way of sharing and protecting your values and beliefs.

If your motivations to create an estate plan include wanting to preserve these ideals, here are some ways to accomplish that goal:

Charitable ambitions

Leaving a charitable legacy is something many Minnesotans want to do. The various ways you might do this in your estate plan include:

  • Setting up and funding a charitable trust
  • Assigning a charity to be the recipient of property or money in your will
  • Naming a charitable organization as a beneficiary of an insurance policy
  • Making donations regularly during your lifetime
  • Creating a charitable foundation

The most effective approach depends on the type and size of the gift you want to leave.

Religious beliefs

Your estate plan can enable you to honor your religious or spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be. To preserve your wishes in these areas, you might consider having as part of your plan:

  • A health care directive that informs medical workers and your loved ones about the care you do, and do not wish to receive
  • A will that details how inheritances (and disinheritances) should be handled
  • Guidelines and instructions for how you prefer loved ones to handle disputes
  • Rules for trust payments that align with religious milestones or purposes
  • Naming your church as a beneficiary

You can also include directions for a funeral and other final arrangements, but it can be wise to keep these separate from a will, as loved ones typically do not see the will until after these events. You can also share your wishes with the person you appoint as your personal representative.

Sharing your values with loved ones

Passing on your traditions and beliefs can be a poignant element of your legacy. With estate planning tools such as letters of instruction, you can express these values and how you want your loved ones to incorporate them into decision-making, gift-giving, and dispute resolution.

Providing your perspective is crucial to ensuring that your loved ones understand what you want and why you desire it, making it easier for them to carry out your wishes.