Wills, Trusts, and Charitable Estate Planning: An Analysis of Document Effectiveness Using Panel Data

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Authors

  • Russell N. James III

Published 2009, "Wills, Trusts, and Charitable Estate Planning: An Analysis of Document Effectiveness Using Panel Data", Journal of Financial Planning and Counselling, 2009- Volume 20

Abstract

  • This paper compares pre-death charitable testamentary expectations with post-death distributions for deceased panel members in the 1995-2006 Health and Retirement Study. Most respondents who reported having a charitable estate plan in the survey wave immediately prior to their death ultimately generated no charitable estate gift after death. Cross-tabulations, linear probability models, and probit analysis all demonstrated that the likelihood of generating a charitable estate gift was significantly higher for respondents who had a funded inter vivos trust than for respondents who had only a will. This difference persisted even after controlling for wealth, income, and other demographic differences. Reasons for the differential effectiveness of these planning documents and implications for financial and gift planners are examined.