A third grade teacher at a school in White Bear Lake, Minnesota made the news this month when she made the choice to use a small inheritance from her parents to buy laptops for her students.
The teacher says that while her parents did not leave her the money specifically for this purpose, they always supported her students and her job as a teacher. In fact, while her father was still alive he donated several personal laptops to the school, several of which are still in use.
This story is a great example of the many ways in which people can use assets passed down among the generations to further causes that are important to the whole family and to invest in the community.
Families have a variety of different types of goals when it comes to estate planning. In this case a passion for education helped the woman who inherited money from her parents to decide what to do with the money, but in other cases parents may want to include more guidance or attach conditions to a gift in order to make sure it is used for something they support. For example, setting up a charitable trust and naming children or grandchildren as trustees to distribute specific gifts can help the whole family get involved in giving back to the community.
Of course, an estate plan contains a lot of personal decisions and it is important to do what is right in your specific situation rather than follow a mold of what others have done. In that respect it is helpful to consult with a professional to get a sense of all of the options.
Source: My Fox 9, "Minn. teacher uses inheritance to buy laptops for students," Shelby Capacio, Oct. 2, 2013.