What can Hollywood teach us about estate and trusts?

My excitement about estate planning is typically only shared by other attorneys or advisors, but it seems that Hollywood is catching on to how interesting estate planning can really be.


The Descendants

This new movie, starring George Clooney, tells the story of a long-standing family land trust in Hawaii. It looks really interesting and is definitely on our list of things to see. Check out more about it here.

Hawaiian Trust Ends After 107 Years

The movie, The Descendants, is quite similar to a real life situation involving trusts holding land in Hawaii that recently ended after 107 years! Get the fascinating details of the true story here.

The Ultimate Gift

Another movie to check out is The Ultimate Gift. When young Jason Stevens’ grandfather dies he thinks he’s just getting cold hard cash, but he ends up with much more. This movie with James Garner, Brian Dennehy and Abigail Breslin will help you think about how estate planning can impact lives, far beyond just financial. Find out more at http://www.theultimategift.com/

And if you find yourself at home with nothing better to do, you could always check out Investigation Discovery’s new show The Will, which looks at famous estate disputes. Whether we like to think about it or not, estate planning is all around us and affects everyone at some point in their lives. Show your loved ones how much you care by establishing a thoughtful and effective plan. Call us at (217) 726-9200 to schedule a free initial consultation today!

Charitable Giving – Do It Wisely and Use Uncle Sam’s Money

As you work on your estate plan, don’t forget to consider charitable giving.  Here are some basic questions to ask yourself:

  • If I plan to give to charity at death, have I considered just giving during my life instead? Give now, enjoy an income tax deduction and also enjoy seeing the money help others.  Plus, you get to see if your chosen organization is wise with the first chunk of funds before you give them more.  Of course, you need to consider what assets you will need during your lifetime to care for you and your family.
  • Whether I plan to give at death or now, during life, am I giving in the most tax-efficient way? Do it the right way and you basically are using some of Uncle Sam’s money.  Do it the wrong way and Uncle Sam keeps his share and you are forced to use only your money (or your family’s inheritance) to make the gift.