May 14, 2014   Estate Planning

What Will You Do With Your Last “Teachable Moment”?

By Wendi Temkin, Attorney at Law
As a parent, it is our job to model for our kids how to be caring, self-sufficient and contributing members of society.  We work hard.  We volunteer our time.  We donate to causes.  We bake for the school fundraisers.  We are polite to the people who wait on us in stores and restaurants.  All of these little details of our everyday lives add up to a strong lesson for our children in how to become a moral adult.
Why not take the opportunity to show your children one last example of how to do good in this world by using your estate plan to “put your money where your mouth is.” 
You don’t have to be a Rockefeller to make charitable giving a part of your estate plan.  In fact, there are a number of ways you can support your favorite charity without impacting your current lifestyle in any way. 
  • Name the charity of your choice as one of your retirement account beneficiaries. 
    This is a highly efficient way to contribute to a good cause because—unlike individuals—charities do not have to pay any income tax on money withdrawn from a retirement account.  You can continue to take withdrawals as needed from your account during your own lifetime, and you retain the right to change your beneficiary designation if your situation changes over time.
  • Name the charity of your choice as one of the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy. 
    Again, you retain ownership of the policy during your lifetime, which means you can change your mind about your beneficiary designation if your family’s needs change.
  • Include a specific gift to the charity of your choice in your will or trust.
    The amount you give will be excluded from the value of your estate for estate tax calculation purposes, helping to reduce any potential taxes you would otherwise owe. 
  • Set up a charitable remainder trust.
    This special type of trust allows you to provide assets for a period of time to your family members after your death, with any remaining assets, or a designated portion of them, going to charity.  It also helps minimize your estate taxes.
No matter how old your children may be when you die, it is never too late to teach them one last lesson about the importance of connection to your community.
About the author:
Wendi TemkinWendi Temkin’s firm, Temkin Law LLC, is a Colorado-based estate planning law firm serving the Boulder and Denver metropolitan areas.  Temkin Law works with both traditional and non-traditional families to create uniquely tailored estate plans to meet a client’s specific goals. All planning is done on a flat-fee basis so there are never any surprise billings. For families with minor children, all planning also includes a Parent Contingency Plan to ensure that your children will always be cared for—even temporarily—by the people you choose and trust to take on this important role.
Wendi Temkin graduated from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1991.  She is an active member of WealthCounsel, a 3,000-member national organization of estate planning attorneys. She is also a member of the Boulder County and Colorado Bar Associations, as well as the Estates and Trusts Section of the Colorado Bar.  As a mom, Wendi knows that estate planning is not about the people who are doing the planning.  It is about the family members who will be left behind. Estate planning is really your gift to your family so that they can have the best transition possible if something were to happen to you. For more information, visit  

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