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Family Values: Making Charitable Giving a Part of Your Estate Plan

Sunday, April 7, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
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February 2013

By Michael Davis

The Business Monthly

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

No one could state the obvious better than Dr. Seuss. So, what does he mean? Perhaps philosopher and psychologist William James added some explanation by saying, "Act like what you do makes a difference; it does.”

Charitable giving makes a difference. It enables changes for the better. And, when charitable giving is a core value for you, it is a gift you should share with your family every chance you get.

Should charitable giving be a part of your estate plan? Should gifts be considered for your college, your religious institution or one of your community’s nonprofit organizations? How would incorporating such gifts help in your estate planning process?

Fostering Engagement

It seems that most people, especially when it comes to estate planning, put their self-interests first. Charity begins at home, they say, so all of the treasure of the family needs to stay within the family.

In order to overcome this quite natural inclination, one must consider what it is that a parent gives to a child in the estate planning process. Whatever it is, it should not be limited to the treasure of the inheritance. A parent’s legacy for a child should be considered in a much broader context.

During the lifetime of a family, the parents impart to their children their values and beliefs — a set of principles that will help guide the children through their lives, helping them to achieve whatever goals they establish.

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Michael W. Davis is the senior partner of the law firm of Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC (, in Columbia. He can be contacted at 410-995-5800 or at  

Mike is also the former Board Chair of #ABAGMember The Columbia Foundation, Howard County's Community Foundation

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