Estate Planning Charitable Donations
Have you ever considered incorporating a charitable donation into your estate plan? Aside from the tax benefits, including charitable giving into your estate plan is a wonderful way to extend your legacy and show your generosity. And contrary to public belief, charitable giving in your estate plan is not just for the very wealthy. Through an estate planning attorney, there are several good ways to provide for your family while also giving to your favorite causes.
- Charitable Contributions through Your Will
The easiest and least complicated way to include a charitable contribution in your estate plan is through your will. The amount you charitably contribute won’t reduce your income taxes, but it may decrease your taxable estate. In addition, this may potentially increase the amount you’ll be able to leave to your heirs. Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn more.
- Charitable Contributions through Your Retirement
You can also contribute to your favorite charity by donating a portion of your retirement account. Donating a retirement account is tax-effective and pretty straightforward. A donor must simply designate the charity as the beneficiary on your account to receive the tax benefit. Charities are exempt from both income and estate taxes. Thus, the charity can receive 100% of the account’s value while your children or heirs receive their portion of the estate through non-retirement assets. Consult with an estate planning attorney to learn more.
- Split-interest gift
Another way to make a charitable contribution is through a split-interest gift. Through a split interest gift, you can donate assets to a charity but may also retain some of the benefits of holding those assets. Here, the donor opens and funds a trust in the charity’s name and receives a charitable income tax deduction at the time of transfer. Just like with other trusts, here the donor retains some rights to the property and may be able to avoid capital gains on the assets transferred. Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn more about split-interest gifts.
Some ways to provide split-interest gifts include:
- Charitable remainder trust (CRT): A CRT is an irrevocable trust that provides either a fixed payment or a fixed percentage to the donor (or other beneficiary) every year. The term of the trust can for the life of the donor or a set number of years. At a minimum, the donor must take annual payments from the trust no less than 5% but no more than 50% of the property’s fair market value. At the end of the term, the remainder goes to the designated charity. To maximize payments during the lifetime of the donor, the trust should appreciate value while receiving payments in the form of a percentage. In contrast, if the trust will not appreciate in value, you’re better off receiving a fixed payment each year. Consult with an estate planning attorney to learn more.
- Charitable lead trust (CLT): A CLT is the reverse of a CRT. This revocable trust provides income to a charity for a set number of years, after which the remainder passes to the donor’s heirs or beneficiaries. The CLT is a good choice for those who don’t need a lifetime of income from certain assets. The trust is often structured to get an income tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the property transferred, with the remaining interest valued at zero to eliminate a taxable gift. Contact an estate planning attorney to learn more about charitable lead trusts.
- Pooled income fund (PIF): Pooled income funds are trusts maintained by public charities. The trust is set up by donors who contribute to the fund. Just like a CRT, the donor receives income during his or her lifetime. After the donor’s death, control over the funds goes to the charity. The biggest benefit to a PIF is that contributions qualify for charitable income deductions as well as gift and estate tax deductions. Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn more.
Charitable Giving is not just for the Wealthy.
There is a misconception that charitable giving is just for the wealthy; however, this is far from true. Many people give to their alma mater or local church. The amount does not need to be in the tens of thousands. In fact, many people give smaller amounts by simply adding the charity in their will. This blog is not meant to provide legal advice and is for informational purporses only. For more information regarding wills, trusts, or charitable giving, contact Cleveland, Ohio law firm Baron Law, LLC. Baron Law is your estate planning law firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Call today for a free consultation at 216-573-3723.