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Estate Planning Can Include Charities As Beneficiaries

Los Angeles residents may be familiar with the name Brooke Astor. Astor was a New York socialite and philanthropist that passed away in 2007 at the astonishing age of 105 years old. She was a remarkable woman that worked endlessly to alleviate the plight of suffering fellow human beings. Her kindness and regard for other individuals won her a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.

Reportedly, an auction of several of the woman's belongings, orchestrated by Sotheby's, hauled in a $18.8 million recently. The woman's estate has been subject to probate litigation the last five years as her only son worked hard to retain more money from the estate. However, the woman's final wishes were to bequeath a large percentage of her fortune to charity.

Accordingly, the $18.8 million secured in the recent auction will work toward benefiting several institutions and charities. Some named recipients include the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of art.

While this woman left a fortune beyond the wildest dreams of most Los Angeles residents, an individual with any amount of assets, large or small, can leverage estate planning tools to benefit charities that they hold near to their heart.

It does not take millions of dollars to benefit a charity. Any amount can work toward aiding a cause that was of importance to an individual. An estate planning attorney can aid an individual in ensuring that their final wishes are exacted in the event of the individual's passing. This includes ensuring that the any desired combination of beneficiaries, including charities, are benefited.

Source: The Washington Post, "NYC auction of the contents of philanthropist Brooke Astor's home fetches $18.8M," Associated Press, Sept. 25, 2012

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