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Estate litigation and planning for wills involving philanthropy

Charitable giving often plays a role in peoples' estate plans. Many see it as a way to leave a positive mark on the world and create a legacy in a community or organization. British Columbia individuals who are planning to include charitable giving in their estate plans may have some things to consider in order to avoid misunderstandings or estates litigation, especially if the gift may not align with the wishes of another beneficiary.

The most important thing when deciding whether to donate some of an estate is to select the right cause. The cause selected should be of personal import and reflect a person's values and priorities. The next step is to select the assets to donate. In most cases this will be money, but in some cases other assets can be donated; for example, artwork can be given to a charity that holds auctions each year.

Executors overseeing estate administration for wills that include charitable donations should consider how the gift affects taxes and probate fees. Ideally, a will left by the deceased will include specific details of how the testator want the assets donated. Sometimes, these assets are placed in a trust, requiring certain criteria to be met prior to the donation being finalized.

In some cases, a gift might seem unusual or even improperly coerced, or a trust might have guidelines that require legal interpretation. In these cases, estates litigation may be the best course of action. Those who are seeking legal support in a matter related to a will involving philanthropic gifts should contact a British Columbia lawyer for clarity and counsel.

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