Leaving it all to Charity – A Good Plan or an Estate Litigator’s Dream
I vaguely remember the first time I saw Warren Buffett’s granddaughter interviewed regarding his intentions to leave the majority of his wealth to charity. I don’t think that I gave it the consideration it deserved. This issue has taken center stage once again with a quick request from Buffett, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates.
Probably known most for their wealth, but also for their generosity, these three trailblazers have asked some of the wealthiest individuals in the United States to pledge to donate most of their fortunes to charity. The intention is not to limit the scope of the request, but merely to start as somewhat of a grass-roots organization and to expand in due course.
On Wednesday, August 4, 2010, nearly 40 individuals, whose wealth exceeds my imagination, pledged to give away half or more of their fortunes. This is just the beginning. The Gates family together with Buffett intend to take this global, by meeting with wealthy individuals in China and India in the coming months. As this pledge is making international news, it’s only a short time before we see it in Canada.
The Canadian impact of such a pledge isn’t fully explored at the moment, and I won’t begin to speculate as to how it will expand north of the border, but the current domino effect can’t be ignored.
As a general member of society I look at this with admiration and recognize the massive benefits that will be conveyed as a direct result of these actions. Even in light of these benefits, I can’t help but look at this as an estate litigator, and hope that the pledges made are conveyed to family members and that those making the pledge take careful steps to create an estate plan, as without such detail, this could be the beginning of a whole new era in Estate Litigation.
Nadia M. Harasymowycz – Click here for more information on Nadia Harasymowycz.