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Samuel Ford Law Torrance Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer
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Religious Considerations In Your Estate Plan


When you make an estate plan, there are a lot of considerations. Your estate plan should reflect what is important to you, and what—and who—should carry out your goals and missions, and get some reward for what they have done for you in life. One of those things that may deserve some reward is your religion. How can you help, carry on, or contribute to your religion in your estate plan?

Leaving Assets

Of course, the main way that you can do this is through leaving property or assets to your chosen religious organization.

This can be done through passing property directly through your will or, for larger donations, through a trustee. The trustee can ensure that your more specific religious requests are met (for example, instead of leaving money to your church, you may want to specifically leave money to build property on the church, or for the church’s youth program).

Remember that there may be members of your own family that don’t share your religious beliefs, or who may even be a different religion than you. A good estate plan will specifically give your property to your religious organization, with instructions, which will minimize the likelihood of a challenge from friends or family who feel that they, and not your religious organization, should get the money.

Who Will Manage the Trust?

If your estate plan calls for a trustee, or a personal representative, or anybody who may act in a fiduciary capacity, and you are leaving significant assets to a religious organization, you may want to make sure that whoever acts in these capacities shares your religious beliefs. This person may be a bit more difficult to find, so you want to start your estate planning early.

Dispute Resolution

If there is dispute or conflict over your estate plan you may want to require that dispute resolution be done through a religious organization. For example, many churches or temples may offer their own services similar to mediation, and you may prefer disputes be handled that way, rather than through traditional, non-secular legal means.

Loans, Interest and Religious Usage

If your money will be loaned to someone, and you have religious restrictions on how much interest can be charged, that restriction needs to be written into your religious documents.

Additionally, you may want to ensure that your funds, even if left to friends or family, are not used in ways that would conflict with your religion. A trust that is set up to only fund specific purposes can help with that.

For example, instead of giving money to your aunt to use however she wants, you can specify the money can be used for a new house, home repairs, to pay for her to go to college, or any number of ways that won’t conflict with your religious beliefs.

Your estate plan should reflect you and what’s important to you. Call the Torrance will attorneys at Samuel Ford Law today to start your estate plan.


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