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Can You Leave Part of Your Estate to Pennsylvania’s Charities and Foundations?

Whether the amount involved is large or small, many Pennsylvanians choose to leave estate assets to a charity or foundation as a way of giving back to their community. Philanthropic giving is a time-honored way for individuals and families to leave a meaningful legacy. With careful estate planning, a charitable bequest made through a will or trust might also confer additional benefits on your heirs.

The late billionaire Henry L. Hillman created his estate plan 50 years before his death. In his will, he left a $700 million gift to support the Henry L. Hillman Foundation in Pittsburgh. The foundation will use that gift to help support grants to local charities that provide innovative solutions to improve local communities. By setting up this gift to be distributed through his will, Hillman created the legal mechanism to enforce his wishes.

Wills and trusts are set up in different ways. A will is a document stating how your property should be allocated upon your death, listing all of your assets and who you would like them to go to upon your passing. A trust, on the other hand, is a legal instrument which holds assets and distributes them based on the directions set forth by the trust creator. Either one of these estate planning options can be used to fund churches, environmental groups and other charitable organizations.

No matter how you choose to disperse your assets among charities and other beneficiaries, clear instructions will minimize the chance of problems down the road. To establish a program that best suits your estate planning objectives, it is best to work with an attorney who is experienced in these matters.

Feldstein Grinberg Lang & McKee, P.C. helps families in Pennsylvania create estate plans that both provide for their heirs’ specific financial needs and achieve their philanthropic goals. Call 412-301-7395 or contact us online to see how we can help you set up your estate to benefit your family and your favorite charities.

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