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Including faith within one's estate planning

Many New Jersey residents hold their religious beliefs as one of the most fundamental aspects of their lives. Faith plays a major role within many families, and shapes the choices that are made throughout the lives of individual family members. When it comes to estate planning, however, many people fail to include their faith within their overall plan.

There are a number of ways that religion can be incorporated into various estate planning matters. For individuals who hold strong religious beliefs concerning how their body is to be processed after death, those wishes must be clearly defined. This can be accomplished by drafting a document that outlines exactly which steps are to be taken, and how one wishes to have his or her final remains handled.

Another matter concerns distributing wealth to chosen charities or faith-based organizations. These distributions can be accomplished by making specific gifts within a will. For others, a charitable trust is the best option. With a trust, contributions can be made by means of yearly income or through multiple larger distributions from the principal amount.

New Jersey residents might also want to include letters or videos for their loved ones, which can be a wonderful and meaningful way to pass along one's religious beliefs and values. No matter how an individual or family decides to include faith within the larger estate planning process, it is a good idea to speak with family in order to let them know the overall scope of one's plan. As with any estate planning topic, having no surprises when the time comes will make it far easier for loved ones to move forward in carrying out one's final wishes.

Source: postcrescent.com, "Ways to incorporate faith and values into your estate plan", Carissa Giebel, Jan. 4, 2015

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