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Recent Blog Posts

Apr
23
2013

Shakespeare on Charitable Giving

Posted 6 years 301 days ago ago by Danielle Streed

In our final week with William Shakespeare and his foresight into estate planning topics, we visit Julius Cesar. Julius Cesar is not about second marriages, spend thrift children or even making bad business decisions and the transfer of assets during your lifetime. Julius Cesar is about something even more important that many of us need to consider today and that is charitable giving. Julius Cesar, I believe is the only play in which an estate planning document, such as a simple Last Will and Testament is part of the whole plot.

After Julius Cesar is murdered by Brutus, his Will is read to the crowd and they soon learn that Julius Cesar left much of his estate to charity. Brutus received nothing and he and his other conspirators are turned upon by the crowd and have to flee town. Although most of us are not facing death at the hand of another, we do know those people in our life that should not inherit from us. It could be a child, grandchild, a sibling or even a niece or nephew. Although we do not fear being murdered by this family member, we do fear that family member inheriting from us, contesting our estate or even taking advantage of us during our life time. Julius Cesar’s estate plan is a wonderful example of how he incorporated charities into his estate and ensured that the assets he had accumulated were used for good purposes. There were no tax planning advantages back in the day of Julius Cesar, but the other aspect of providing for charitable giving in your estate is that it can create tax benefits at the time of your death. Additionally, if you choose to by-pass family or relatives and you do not want your estate plan to become public as it was here, by being read to the masses, that you consider setting up a Living Trust. A Living Trust is a private way for you to pass assets to your beneficiaries or charities and only the named beneficiaries or charities will receive notice of your wishes. Family members or friends or people in your life that you choose to exclude from your estate, will not receive notification and/or a copy of your Trust. Your affairs will pass to your beneficiaries privately.




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