Sunday, March 3, 2024

Bringing the Planet Into Your Estate Planning


Estate planning can help make your passing easier for your loved ones. And it can also be easier for the planet you leave behind, according to estate attorneys at Koza Law Group.

“Eco-friendly estate planning goes beyond providing for our loved ones,” says Bobby Kouretchian of Koza Law Group, a Southern California law firm. “It also considers the impact our life and death may have on the planet.” Koza wants people to consider the impact they can have as their final act through responsible estate planning. “When selecting an estate planning attorney, select one who considers the impact they have on the planet,” Koza says.

Estate planning is a crucial process that ensures your assets and belongings are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. It provides peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones are taken care of and that your estate is handled efficiently, minimizing potential conflicts among heirs. Estate planning also allows for the management of affairs in the event of incapacitation, ensuring decisions about your health and assets align with your preferences. By establishing a clear plan, you can avoid the complications and expenses associated with probate, safeguarding your legacy and providing for the future of your family in a manner that reflects your desires and values, which can also include stipulations for the planet.

Incorporating environmental considerations into estate planning is increasingly important as awareness of our planet’s fragility grows. By choosing to leave a legacy that benefits the environment, you can contribute to the sustainability and health of the planet for future generations. This can include making donations to environmental causes, investing in sustainable ventures, or establishing trusts that fund conservation efforts. Planning your estate with the planet in mind not only reflects a commitment to stewardship of the earth but also inspires others to consider the long-term impact of their actions. It’s a way to ensure that your legacy is not just about what you leave behind, but also about the positive impact you have on the world.

Estate planning for the planet

By following these tips, you can create an estate plan that reduces your environmental impact and ensures that your wishes are carried out in an environmentally responsible way.

1. Donate to environmental causes

“One of the most effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of your estate is to donate a portion of your assets to environmental causes,” says Kouretchian. “This can include organizations that work to protect natural habitats, promote renewable energy, or support sustainable agriculture.”

2. Choose an eco-friendly burial

Traditional burial practices are harmful to the environment due to the use of embalming fluids and non-biodegradable caskets. “Consider a natural burial, which involves using a biodegradable casket or shroud, and burying the body in a natural setting without embalming,” Kouretchian says.

Courtesy The Good Funeral Guide | Unsplash

3. Consider a green funeral service

Similar to a natural burial, a green funeral may also include other eco-friendly elements, “such as using recycled paper products for the funeral program, using locally sourced flowers, and encouraging guests to carpool or use public transportation to reduce carbon emissions.”

4. Consider the environmental impact of your estate’s assets

“When creating your estate plan, consider the environmental impact of your assets,” says Kouretchian. “For example, if you own a large amount of stock in a company that has a poor environmental record, you may want to consider divesting from that stock and perhaps choosing a more earth-friendly investment.”

5. Encourage your heirs to be eco-friendly

Kouretchian says it’s a good idea to encourage your heirs to be friendly to the environment. “This can include setting up a trust that incentivizes your heirs to be mindful of the environment, or perhaps leaving a bequest to an environmental organization in their name.”

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