Estate Attorney Encourages Creating a Hometown Legacy

Vanessa Terzian, an estate planning attorney with Pasadena-based Lagerlof Lawyers, LLP, facilitates charitable components of estate plans and helps individuals establish long-term support for causes most important to them. As a guest contributor this week, Vanessa shares why she believes working with a community foundation like PCF helps donors define and preserve their core values and ultimately helps create a sustainable philanthropic legacy.

I began my legal career working for Wells Fargo’s Trust Department. As a trust officer, I noticed families that incorporated a charitable component into their plan created a lasting bond over many generations around their planned giving. After witnessing first hand the importance of proper planning, I pursued my own practice, helping countless families through my expertise in estate and tax planning, probate, and trust administration.

I am a proponent of family discussions regarding the estate plan and find that an easy way to start these discussions is to invite the family’s participation at the charitable level. As an estate planning attorney, I facilitate the charitable component of the estate plan and determine what the best tools are to accomplish the overall goals. I’ve enjoyed serving on the Professional Advisors Committee of Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) for the past several years and have shared with my clients various planning tools that PCF provides.

Working with a community foundation allows you to use philanthropy to define and preserve your core values. It can provide flexible resources for charitable giving and can help you define and enact your charitable legacy. Foundations also typically have a deep and broad understanding of the nonprofit landscape – the organizations in operation, their histories, and their strengths — so they are a good place to learn about philanthropic options in your community. Here in Pasadena, PCF checks all those boxes: It has a long history of guiding individuals and families in their decisions regarding charitable giving strategies.

Estate attorney Vanessa Terzian

Leaving a gift through a bequest in your will or trust, like a named endowment, is one way to ensure you have an impact in the world after you’re gone. Funds generated from your endowment are continuously reinvested in the community and support pertinent local causes annually through PCF’s robust grant making. PCF can work closely with your estate and financial advisors to create a planned gift that supports your legacy and the causes important to you even after your death.

Pasadena is a generous community, with numerous local philanthropists donating their time and money to support causes most important to them. With a wealth of local organizations and causes, it’s important to focus your philanthropy and work with professionals to create your hometown legacy. Pasadena Community Foundation is a great place to start.