This is the seventh blog in our Estate Planning Considerations series. In the previous blog, we addressed the decision of whether a family member should serve as executor or trustee. In this blog, we will explore various options for including charitable giving in your estate plan. Charitable giving not only allows you to leave a lasting legacy but also provides an opportunity to support causes and organizations close to your heart. By understanding these options, you can make informed decisions that align with your philanthropic goals and values.
One of the most common ways to include charitable giving in your estate plan is through charitable bequests. This involves designating a specific amount or percentage of your estate to be donated to a charitable organization upon your passing. You can include charitable bequests in your will or revocable living trust, allowing you to support causes that are meaningful to you while ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
A charitable remainder trust (CRT) provides an opportunity to benefit both your loved ones and charitable organizations. With a CRT, you transfer assets into a trust, which then pays income to your chosen beneficiaries for a specified period. After that period, the remaining assets are distributed to the charitable organizations you have designated. CRTs can offer tax advantages, such as income tax deductions and potential avoidance of capital gains taxes.
Charitable Lead Trusts
In contrast to a charitable remainder trust, a charitable lead trust (CLT) allows you to support charitable organizations during your lifetime while ultimately passing the remaining assets to your chosen beneficiaries. With a CLT, the trust makes regular payments to charitable organizations for a specified period, after which the remaining assets are transferred to your beneficiaries. CLTs can provide estate tax benefits, potentially reducing the taxable value of your estate.
Donor-advised funds (DAFs) offer a flexible and convenient way to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan. With a DAF, you establish an account within a public charity or financial institution and make contributions to it during your lifetime. You can then recommend grants from the fund to support charitable organizations. DAFs provide flexibility in timing charitable distributions and can involve family members in philanthropic decision-making.
For individuals or families with substantial assets and a long-term commitment to philanthropy, establishing a private foundation may be an option. Private foundations are separate legal entities that you create to support charitable causes. They require ongoing administration and compliance with specific regulations, but they offer flexibility and control over charitable giving strategies, allowing you to create a lasting impact in areas that matter to you.
Charitable Gift Annuities
Charitable gift annuities are a way to provide ongoing income for yourself or your loved ones while also benefiting charitable organizations. With a charitable gift annuity, you make a donation to a charitable organization, and in return, you or your chosen beneficiaries receive regular fixed payments for life. After the annuity period, the remaining funds are used by the charitable organization. Charitable gift annuities offer tax benefits and the satisfaction of supporting charitable causes.
Incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan allows you to leave a meaningful legacy and support causes that align with your values. By considering options such as charitable bequests, charitable trusts, donor-advised funds, private foundations, and charitable gift annuities, you can create a philanthropic plan that reflects your desires and goals.
Remember, estate planning is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. It's important to review and update your estate planning documents periodically to reflect any changes in your circumstances, such as births, deaths, marriages, or divorces. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout this process.
In the next blog of the Estate Planning Considerations series, we will explore the following topic: Common Non-Probate Assets.
Contact Provident Legal Counsel today to discuss your estate plan. Schedule a Consultation or call (214) 432-6100.