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Five animal shelters benefit from man's estate

Many Miami-area residents have probably already considered their estate plans and what they want to happen to their assets when they die. For those who have not or who want to change their estate plan, a trust created by one man demonstrates just one way in which one's estate can be used to help others.

This Chicago man died just over a year ago and had created a unique trust before his death. He was unmarried-like his four brothers. So, when it came time to make a plan for his estate, he considered who he would want to benefit from the funds, which he did not know the exact value of when he created the trust.

The man created a trust that ensured his assets would all go to no-kill animal shelters. Five Chicago-area shelters split the $1.5 million in the man's trust. This man's attorney stated that animals were "the beings that meant the most to him."

When creating trusts, many people may think about giving money to relatives or to a large non-profit or their alma mater. However, this man thought rather creatively when he made his trust. Not only did he choose a cause which was very close to his heart, he also chose to split his estate between five animal shelters in his area. In addition, he was very specific in his trust, stating that his assets would only go to "no-kill" shelters, something he likely valued.

Florida residents who are in the process of creating an estate plan may want to consider this man's approach to estate planning when setting up trusts. Each person values different activities, organizations, and purposes, so it makes sense that each person would create a unique estate plan. Taking the time to set up an estate plan that fits one's values and interests could have a significant impact on others, as this man's did for animal shelters.

Source:, "Lemont man leaves $1.5 million to Chicago-area no-kill animal shelters," Ravi Baichwal, Dec. 26, 2012

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