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Why not create a unique estate plan?

What do you value most in life? Family? Work? Helping others? Many people choose to put time and money into things they care about. This might mean spending time outdoors with family members on weekends or volunteering at a food shelf during one's free time. How one chooses to spend time and money may indicate where one would like money from an estate to go.

For some people, this may mean dividing one's assets between children and grandchildren. However, others may prefer to give money to certain charities, their alma mater, or organizations through an estate plan.

A citrus farmer in Camarillo, California split his $11 million estate among multiple organizations and charities in his area. The American Red Cross, Camarillo Health Care District, and Camarillo Public Library each received 25 percent of his estate and the remaining 25 percent was split between a nearby Salvation Army and a children's home.

A report indicates that the library plans to use the money to enhance their business collection and to assist small-business owners in the area through business seminars and tutorials which will be available online. The citrus farmer reportedly wanted the money to help the area's business community. By creating an estate plan, this farmer was able to choose who would benefit from his estate. Even after his death, his financial contributions are helping his community in ways he likely valued.

Estate plans can be unique so they fit each person's interests and situation well. This man's estate plan may serve as a model for others looking into managing their estates.

Source: Ventura County Star, "Camarillo library plans to expand business collection with $2.8 million bequest," Jennifer Letzer, Sept. 17, 2012

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