Eco-Friendly Estate Planning
As Earth Day approaches, as we consider our economic impact on the environment, let’s consider Eco-friendly estate planning. This isn’t partisan or even political. This is just common sense.
Eco-friendly estate planning not only strives to ensure the well-being of our loved ones after we’re gone, but also considers the impact our life and death may have on the environment.
Here are some tips on how to consider Mother Earth during the estate planning process:
Consider donating 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. This can include organizations that work to protect natural habitats, promote renewable energy, or support sustainable agriculture.
Choose an Eco-friendly burial
Traditional burial practices can harm the environment due to the use of embalming fluids and non-biodegradable caskets. Instead, consider a natural burial, which involves using a biodegradable casket or shroud, and burying the body in a natural setting without embalming.
Consider a green funeral
A green funeral is similar to a natural burial, but it 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.
Consider the environmental impact of your estate’s assets
When creating your estate plan, consider the environmental impact of your assets. 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. Consider sustainable investing.
Encourage your heirs to be Eco-friendly
Consider using your estate plan 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.
Use a green estate planning attorney
When selecting an estate planning attorney, select one who considers the impact they have on the planet. For example, Koza Law Group, an estate and corporate law firm located in Carlsbad, California, has adopted a completely paperless, online intake process to minimize the amount of paper used in the intake and planning phases of the estate planning process.
“We’re saving about 70 pages per client, just on the intake process alone,” said Makyla Vigil, an associate attorney at Koza Law Group. “With our new online portal, we are also saving an additional 150 sheets of paper, on average, per client, during the drafting and review process. That’s over 200 pages, per client, on average.”
But this isn’t just a savings of paper. There are other benefits, as well.
“Who says environmental consciousness can’t also save money and provide other benefits?” asked Bobby Kouretchian, the managing attorney at Koza Law Group. “With our entire process streamlined online, we’ve also reduced our carbon footprint and saved our clients from having to spend on out-of-pocket expenses associated with printing, copying, shipping, and postage.”
Ms. Vigil summed it up perfectly— “Look, even our least environmentally oriented clients enjoy saving time and money. This is just common sense.”
Earth-friendly estate planning isn’t partisan. It’s just ‘good practice.’ We all gain from it. 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.