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Trusts: Gifts that can keep on giving

During this holiday season families in Miami and throughout Florida will be coming together to spend time with loved ones. As people take time to consider how they want to show their appreciation for others, it may be a great opportunity to consider how setting up a trust will allow that effort to continue years after your passing.

Recently, the estate of Billy and Audrey Wilder, the legendary director of "The Lost Weekend" and his wife, made the announcement that a children's hospital would be receiving a generous donation of $11 million. The couple had long been supporters of the hospital, but they wanted to ensure they left a lasting impact.

Billy Wilder passed away about 10 years ago and his wife passed away just this year. The hospital was made aware they would be receiving a gift this past summer, but they didn't have the details until recently.

As this case shows, people can set aside a portion of their estate for causes or people they care about. The Wilders specifically directed a portion of their estate to the hospital to fund the neurosurgery department and "create an endowed chair." With this funding, the hospital hopes to become a national leader in pediatric neurosurgery. The couple gave specific directions as to how their trust would be administered and it was carried out accordingly.

The important thing to remember is that you don't need to be rich or famous to create a trust. In fact, you can include a relative modest donation to a local cause or charity in your estate plan. Just as the Wilders had a goal in mind with their contribution, you can provide funds to an organization for a specific purpose.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Children's Hospital Los Angeles receives $11-million gift," Adolfo Flores, Dec. 19, 2012

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