Your Guide To Charitable Giving As Part Of Your Estate Plan 

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What are you passionate about? Everyone has a cause that is particularly important to them and that they want to support in any way they can. That can mean volunteering or even charitable giving. If you are considering charitable giving as part of your estate plan, here is what you should know. 

How To Get Started 

Choosing a charity to support

If you are not already involved with a particular charity, think about a cause you are passionate about. Ask yourself:  

  • What issues am I most concerned about?

  • Where do I want to make a difference?

  • What do I believe future generations may need help with?

  • What would I like my legacy to be? 

Do your research

Although most charities are ones you can be confident in giving to, you should complete your research on the charities you are most interested in connecting with. By looking a little more into the charity of your choosing, you may be able to get a better idea of how your gift will be used and what your assets will go towards. If it is important to you that your assets go toward more than just administrative costs, you can find this out too. 

Involve your family

There are two great reasons to involve your beneficiaries in your decision to include charities in your estate plan: 

1.        Giving part, or all, of your estate to a charity will reduce the amount your beneficiaries can expect to receive. If your loved ones are aware of the status of your estate, this may be important information to share. It will also reduce the amount of estate taxes they will be responsible for upon your death. Giving to a charity may help s you, and your family, minimize estate taxes while also supporting causes that are meaningful to you. 

2.       Your family may want to start thinking about how they would like to formulate their own estate plan. Would they be interested in continuing your work and involving the same charitable cause in their estate plan, or during their lifetime? This can be a family legacy  plan that everyone will want to be a part of in some way. 

Making The Gift 

Once you have made your decision, there are a couple of other items to consider: what to gift and how to gift it. 

What to gift

What you are able to give to charities goes beyond cash and stock portfolios. Consider your the whole of your estate and determine which assets you would like to go to certain beneficiaries. 

Remember that you may give to a charity assets such as:  real estate, artwork, and even accounts such as retirement accounts.  Certain assets are subject to different taxes so when choosing what which assets to gift, and to whom,  can come down to a tax decision. Speaking to an estate planning or tax professional can assist you with this step. 

How to gift

Remember that gifts made to charities are exempt from gift tax, but your  estate is still subject to estate taxes when applicable. There are certain ways to donate that provide more advantageous tax benefits than others, plus give you more control over how your gift is used. An experienced estate planning attorney, like the ones at Kira Doyle Law, can walk you through these choices.  

Some gifting options include, but are not limited to: 

1.        Gift at death through a will or trust: Naming a charity as a beneficiary will reduce the amount value of your estate and the corresponding estate tax bill, when applicable.. Just like any other asset, the terms of your trust will designate how and when your assets are distributed for charitable purposes, and the trustee will be responsible for doing so.

2.       Creating a private or family foundation: This option is perfect if you would like to enjoy the act of giving during your lifetime and have the work of the foundation continue after your passing. Although there is a lot some of administration involved in creating your own foundation, this can be a family legacy that bears your name, for generations to come.

3.       Charitable gift annuity: If you still want to receive an income stream, consider this option which will supply you with an income from the lump sum gift each year, with the remainder of the annuity paid to the charity upon your death.

4.       Giving appreciated assets: This is a great option for you if you want to benefit from an income tax deduction and bypass capital gains tax that you would owe by cashing in the asset yourself.

5.       Retirement accounts: Retirement accounts are some of the highest taxed assets in any estate, and they are often forgotten about as an option for charitable giving. By gifting your retirement account, your estate tax burden is lessened because it will receive a federal estate tax charitable deduction on the value that is held in the account. At the same time, the charity does not have to pay income taxes on this gift. 

Complete Your Documents

Once you have completed all of the above, contact us to update your estate planning documents, or to get started. It is very important that all of your beneficiaries are up-to-date and that your charitable giving wishes are known.  

The final step: feel good knowing you will continue to support your favorite charitable cause for many years to come, and that your legacy is one that you and your family can be proud of.  


Turn To A St. Petersburg Estate Planning Attorney For Assistance

Our experienced estate planning attorneys will assist you in formulating your estate plan so your documents clearly lay out your wishes and how you would like your assets distributed upon your passing. Contact us by calling our office at 727-537-6818, or by completing the form below, to schedule an appointment and  get started today.

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