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NFL Films' Steve Sabol's Death: How to Leave a Lasting Legacy

NFL Films is best known for those slow-motion images of crushing hits on the field and footballs spiraling through the air. These images were the pioneering vision of Steve Sabol and his father Ed, who started the company to show the passion and epic nature of the game of football, according to The New York Times.

Sabol's passing makes us realize that there may be passions of our own that we devote our lives to. Perhaps you'd want to include a gift to charity or a business as part of your estate plan, so that even in death you can continue to contribute to your passion.

Are there special steps to leave all or part of your estate to a charity or business?

The answer depends on what exactly you want to give and how. It is easy to give a portion of your estate to a charity or religious organization. All you would need to do is write in your will or trust that a distribution is to be made to your group of choice.

If you want to give your entire estate to an organization, you can use the same devices. However, if you are married or have children, you might run into problems. This is because in New York, a spouse has a right of election, which means the surviving spouse can take $50,000 or one-third of a deceased spouse's estate (whichever is greater) if the couple had children.

Another way to pass along money to an organization is by forming a charitable trust. This type of trust can not only help you give to your passion, but can also help your estate save money on taxes. The limitation to this type of trust is that the beneficiary organization must be a charity recognized as such by the IRS.

The charitable trust will give the charity a fund to help with their costs, but also an income to you (while alive) or to someone that you designate. If you think you don't have enough money to set up a charitable trust, you can join a pooled charitable trust, which is a group of people that pool their money to form a trust.

Hopefully your life is filled with a passion like the one that Steve Sabol pursued throughout his lifetime. Just remember that even in death, your legacy can live on.

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