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Baron Law LLC

Same Sex Divorce

Baron Law of Cleveland, Ohio offers the following information on Same Sex Divorce.  Here are some brief answers to issues that tend to arise.  For further information you should contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in same sex divorce situations that can answer these an other questions you may have.  Contact Baron Law LLC at 216-573-3723 to arrange an appointment to meet with a qualified attorney.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down Ohio’s statutory and constitutional bans on the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This ruling meant that all 50 states must issue marriage licenses and fully recognize same-sex marriages in the same way traditional marriages are. Shortly after this ruling, same-sex marriages were performed in Ohio by local officials implementing the court ruling. Just like everything in life, however, not everything has been sunshine and roses. As with all marriage in America, with an almost 50% divorce rate, sex-same marriage has also suffered the same rates of martial separations, either via divorce or dissolution. Unlike traditional marriage, same-sex separations have their own unique issues to deal with during the separation process.

  1. Child Custody

 Apart from the issues and difficulties regarding children from a prior marriage or relationship, sex-same couples often resort to the use of surrogates or sperm donors in order to have children. This use of third parties by same-sex couples can give rise to potential custody, visitation, or child support litigation or conflict. Often times a lack of a biological/genetic link to a child is offered as an argument for denying custody or visitation. Though genetics are not the be all end all when determining who actually is a parent, courts like to use hard and concrete rules such as who was the donor and who has a blood relation to a child. Thus, in order to combat this possibility, experienced Ohio domestic attorneys use prearranged custody or parenting agreements which fills the roles of concrete evidence of parentage that domestic courts like so much. All same-sex couples should put their family dynamics on paper at least sometime in the lives. A child being separated from a parent they’ve known since birth can have profound consequences on their development and a little proactive paperwork can be a godsend.     

  1. Spousal Support

 Aside from base income and available resources, the length of marriage is often a crucial factor in determining the amount of support one spouse will get and the other spouse will give. Since same-sex marriage only recently was legally recognized, it may be difficult to convince a judge that a spousal support calculation should consider the time a couple spent together before they could legally marry. Further, which children are accountable to the marriage also influences how a domestic relations judge will allocate resources, see the aforementioned issues with courts recognizing children within the context of same-sex marriages. A well-versed Ohio divorce attorney is needed to make the proper arguments at the proper time. 

  • Division of Property

Common-law marriage was abolished in Ohio in 1991. As such, though a same-sex couples may have technically been together prior to June 2015, for the purposes of equitable division during divorce, there was no shared martial property. Thus, even if a couple was living together and holding themselves out to the community as a married couple for years, domestic courts often won’t take into account this period of time when calculating available resources or divisible property. An experienced Cleveland domestic attorney is needed to argue when property became martial property under Ohio law. Since same-sex couple have only been legally allowed to marry for only a few years, Ohio law isn’t completely settled. This can be beneficial to you, in that courts are more likely to see a situation your way, but this is only possible with the help of an attorney who knows the law and knows what to say and how to say it.

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Helping You and Your Loved Ones Plan for the Future

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Should I get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Cleveland, Ohio Divorce Attorney

Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you’re getting married, a prenuptial agreement may have crossed your mind.  Many people fear that bringing up the word ‘prenup’ will cause tension in a relationship, but often times it actually eases your mind.  After all, most people get divorced because of one thing – finances.   Knowing and understanding your spouse’s finances may relieve tension and future arguments if things don’t work out.   Nonetheless, entering into a prenuptial agreement is a personal decision.  Consider these pros and cons and compare them with your circumstances.

Pros of a Prenuptial Agreement

  • Assign debt such as credit cards, school loans, and mortgages. Often times, student loans will be fought over in the event of divorce.  Attorneys use debt negotiate the terms of the divorce.
  • Reduce conflicts during a divorce.
  • Document each spouse’s separate property compared to ‘marital property.’ Separate property is not included in spousal support in Ohio.
  • Distinguish between what is marital and community property.
  • Support an estate plan and avoid court involvement to decide property distribution

Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement

  • It’s not an easy subject to talk about and otherwise is not romantic. If you fear that discussing the matter will create tension then it may not be a good way to go.  Keep in mind that in Ohio, you must give sufficient notice before presenting a prenup.  Thus, an agreement given just a day or two before the wedding may not hold up in court.
  • A prenup cannot include child custody issues or child support. Ultimately, the court has the final say in calculating child support and it is determined by the ‘best interest of the child.’
  • Child support is calculated using the Ohio child support worksheet. A prenup will not prevent you from having to pay child support.
  • If your prenup is completely unfair or not in the interest of justice, a court may set aside some of your assets.
  • Cannot include personal preferences such as chores, where to spend holidays, or what school the children should attend.

So, should you get a prenuptial agreement?  Consider these questions:

  1. Do you own real estate?
  2. Do you have more than $50,000 in liquid assets?
  3. Do you earn more than $100,000 a year?
  4. Do you own any part of a business?
  5. Does a part of your estate name beneficiaries or heirs other than your partner?
  6. Do you work or your partner plan to go to school for an advanced degree, while the other works?
  7. Do you have employment benefits such as stock options of profit sharing?
  8. Do you have more than one year’s worth of retirement benefits?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should consider a prenuptial agreement.  Consult with a qualified divorce attorney or prenuptial attorney for more information.  Cleveland, Ohio attorney Brittany A. Baron can help with your prenup agreement today.  Contact Baron Law LLC for a free consultation.  Call today at 216-573-3723.  You will speak directly with a Cleveland, Ohio divorce attorney who can assist you with your prenuptial legal needs.

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I’m Thinking Of Incorporating My Business, What Is An S Corporation?

Are you thinking of incorporating your business? Have you considered becoming an “S Corporation” instead. Cleveland Business Attorney Baron Law LLC offers you the following information to consider before making the choice. What are the advantages of becoming an “S Corp”?

Nowadays many businesses are taking advantage of incorporation to protect themselves and their owners. A common question is which type of business structure is best. Should I create an LLC, C-Corp, or S-Corp? Sole-Proprietorship? Partnership?

As with many legal and economic questions, the answer isn’t black and white. The reason there are so many options when forming your business is because every business venture is different and possesses different opportunities and issues. That is why a good business attorney is invaluable. Ultimately, knowing which type of business entity to create is best found out through experience, and a good Ohio business attorney will have the necessary experience to help you make the best decision. For this discussion, though, S-Corporations are the focus. “S-Corps” have been steadily rising in popularity in recent years and many small business owners are wondering if and how using this type of incorporation is right for them.

What is an S corporation?

An S corporation is a pro-profit corporate structure that elected to be taxed under Subsection S of the Internal Revenue Code. Such election subjects the corporation to “pass-through” taxation while still retaining many of the benefits of “regular” incorporation.

The first primary distinguishing characteristic of an S-Corp is the pass-through taxation. That is corporate income, losses, deduction, and credits pass through the corporation to its shareholders for federal tax purposes. Thus, the shareholders report the profits and losses of the S-Corp, which is proportionally assigned to each shareholder’s ownership interest, on their individual tax returns and are taxed at individual income tax rates. This effectively avoids the double taxation that regular C-Corporations are subject to.

The second distinguishing characteristic of an S-Corp is the relative difficulty in formation. That is, compared to making an LLC or a C-Corp, the IRS/Secretary of State is much more stringent with the formal requirements of an S-Corp. Consequently, the initial satisfaction of these requirements and the continuing obligations inherent in remaining S-Corp eligible means more paperwork and corporate legwork is needed compared to other corporate forms. Ensuring these requirements are met, every year, is a major reason why Ohio business attorneys are retained. Finding out during tax season that your business was in violation of the IRS code and was subject to a completely different tax structure may leave a company insolvent or unknowingly operating at a loss for the fiscal year. Not exactly a fun conversation to have with shareholders.

What are the requirements of an S corporation?

Per the Internal Revenue Service, to qualify for S corporation status you must first file for “regular” corporate status then elect to become an S-Corp by submitting IRS Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation. In order to file IRS Form 2553, a corporation must observe the following formalities:

The business must be a domestic corporation or a domestic entity eligible to elect to be treated as one.

The business cannot have more than 100 shareholders. (Note, spouses and members of the same family, respectively, are treated as one shareholder.)

The business must only be comprised of allowable shareholders. Only permittable individuals, trusts, and estates under the IRS code. Partnerships, non-resident alien shareholders, and other corporations are not allowed.

The business must only have one class of stock. Generally, a corporation is treated as having only one class of stock if all outstanding shares of the corporation’s stock confer identical rights to distribution and liquidation proceeds.

Each shareholder consents to the S-Corp election and manifests such consent in writing.

The business is not an ineligible corporation for S-Corp election, that is certain financial institutions, insurance companies, possessions corporations, or domestic international sales corporations.

Furthermore, S-Corps must also observe more stringent internal corporate formalities. This proves to the IRS that the S-Corp election, and its accompanying advantages, are being used for legitimate business purposes and not to the detriment of the public or for ill-gain. The logic is if shareholders are willing to follow the rules in regard to corporate management, then probably the business isn’t stealing or hurting people. Some of the required formalities for S-Corporations include: adopting corporate bylaws, issuing stock to shareholders, holding an initial director and shareholder meeting, holding the same meeting at least once a year, and recording and storing meeting minutes within corporate records. An experienced business attorney can draft a comprehensive business plan to follow and assist in its implementation.

What are the benefits of an S corporation?

Asset Protection

All corporations, like LLCs, C-Corps, and S-Corps, provide their owners/shareholders with limited liability protection. Limited liability means that the owners or shareholders personal assets are protected from claims of the creditors of the business. This includes claims that also arise from contract disputes and litigation, either the cost of defending or prosecuting litigation or via adverse judgments against the business. Without this shield, which comes from filing and choosing to operate a business via a corporate form, debts of the business attach to the individuals running the business. In light of this big personal risk, most people would choose not to operate a business. This is why a Cleveland business attorney is so important, these attorneys ensure that the required corporate formalities are followed so the limited liability shield is recognized by the courts and creditors and can protect you.

Pass-Through Taxation

As previously mentioned, S-Corps are classified as pass-through business entities. As such, they avoid double taxation that C-Corps are subject to. Double taxation occurs when dividend income is taxed at both the corporate level, when the business receives the profits, and at the shareholder level, when the shareholder receives their proportionate share of the business dividends. Instead of the IRS getting two bites, with S-Corps they only get one. Further, additional corporate benefits such as business income, tax deductions, losses, and certain credits also can pass through the S-Corp to the shareholders.

Deciding to incorporate and choosing which type of corporate structure to operate as are big decisions. The particular type of corporate form you go with fundamentally affects how you will run and manage your business. A business attorney is in the best position to advise and assist in making the best decision. Regardless of how you incorporate, any comprehensive corporate formation will include, at minimum, an operating agreement, certificates of membership, articles of incorporation, EIN number, subscription agreement, recommendations, and appropriate filing fee. For existing and soon-to-be corporations alike, make sure you have all these documents, failure to do so could cost you thousands of dollars down the line.

You don’t have to be rich to protect what you’ve spent a lifetime trying to build. To find out whether a trust is right for your family, take the one-minute questionnaire at www.DoIneedaTrust.com. There are a number of different trusts available and the choices are infinite. With every scenario, careful consideration of every trust planning strategy should be considered for the maximum asset protection and tax savings. For more information, you can contact Mike Benjamin of Baron Law LLC at 216-573-3723. Baron Law LLC is a Cleveland, Ohio area law firm focusing on estate planning and elder law. Mike can also be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.

About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.

Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.

Disclaimer:

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Living Will

Do I need a Living Will?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following regarding living wills:

Before you can answer this question you must first understand what a Living will is and what purpose it serves.

A Living Will is one form of Advance Directive which clearly defines your wishes for medical care should the following occur:

A Living Will clearly states your health care intentions.  This document allows you to make decisions while still cognitive such as:

  • Whether or not you wish to be put on life support, even if for a very short time
  • Would you would like to receive pain medication of any kind
  • Is it you desire to have any nutrition available by means of a feeding tube

The Living Will document also allows you to list any further specific instructions for your care if you become fully incapacitated.

Another form to consider securing in conjunction with a Living Will is a Health Care Proxy which is a specific Power of Attorney. A Health Care Power of Attorney authorizes a specific person you have chosen to act on your behalf to make all medical decisions (or to make sure that your medical wishes in your Living Will that you have set forth are followed), in the eventuality that you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself.

It might be in your best interested to have both a Living Will and a Power of Attorney which will set forth comprehensive guidance when it comes to your medical care in the end stages of life.

Things to consider when completing these documents:

  • Who do I want and trust to make my health care decisions when I am no longer capable of making them on my own?
  • What kind of medical treatment DO I or DON’T I want?
  • How comfortable do I want to be when my life’s journey is coming to an end?
  • How do I want people to treat me?
  • What do I want my loved ones to know?

Having a Living Will is only one part to a comprehensive estate plan.  For information regarding living wills, trusts, power of attorney, or a pour-over will, contact Dan Baron of Baron Law to make an appointment at 216-573-3723.

estate planning

QTIP Trusts – Estate Planning for Those With Children From a Prior Marriage.

Cleveland, Ohio Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney offers the following:

The main benefit of a Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust is being able to control your estate after your gone.  In addition, there are several tax advantages for larger estates.

Each spouse can set up a QTIP trust, leaving assets to the other in trust.  When the first spouse dies, the survivor gets what is called a “life estate” in the assets that are left to the QTIP trust—that is, the survivor is entitled to any income the assets produce, and in the case of real estate, to its use. Only the surviving spouse can be named as the life beneficiary. The survivor does not, however, have full ownership of the trust assets and cannot sell them or give them away.

In order to qualify for the marital exemption, the spouse must receive all of the income from the trust and the Executor must make an election on the tax return.  QTIP’s are very similar to family trusts, or bypass trusts.  And in fact, many times you create a family trust in conjunction with a QTIP.  The difference is that QTIP’s are more restrictive and are useful for those who are in second marriages.

There may also be several tax advantages. Here’s an example:

  • Jim’s share of the marital estate is $12 million. He passes in 2016, leaving a spouse, Karen, and sons from a prior marriage. He had a revocable living trust, which becomes irrevocable upon his death.
  • Upon Jim’s death, his trust sub-divided into an “A” and a “B” trust. $5.43 million is diverted to his “B” trust. Karen is the beneficiary, with limited access.  Because this trust is under the federal estate tax limit, estate tax is $0.00.  Over the next 20 years, because of robust growth, the “B” trust is now $17 million.  Upon the Karen’s death, trust “B” passes to the son’s entirely estate tax free.
  • The remaining $6.57 million in assets are diverted to the “A” trust. Karen again has restricted access, but can use these funds for her health, maintenance and support. When Karen has expenses she uses the “A” trust and saves the “B” trust only for dire necessities.
  • Upon her death the “A” trust has been reduced (or eliminated) and the tax is minimal, if there is any at all. The remaining balance of the “A” trust goes to Jim’s sons.

There are many advantages to setting up a QTIP trust.  Every estate plan is unique and its important to contact an elder law and estate planning attorney who can analyze your estate.   Contact Cleveland, Ohio attorney Dan A. Baron at 216-276-4282 to learn more about QTIP or other trusts.  Baron Law is a Cleveland, Ohio law firm.

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Client Review

Daniel Baron reviewed our Trust, Wills and HPOA. He provided good feedback as to what needed updating and any necessary additions to the documents. We didn’t have a FPOA which thanks to him we now have. He was able answer any questions we had and proved to be very flexible to accommodate our schedules when it came time to meet. I would recommend him to anyone looking to do Estate Planning

– Tom

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Will Getting Divorce Affect Your IRA’s Minimum Required Distribution?

Will Getting Divorce Affect Your IRA’s Minimum Required Distribution?

If your retirement portfolio contains a Simple Employee Pension (“SEP”), or Simple IRA, you need to know how the minimum distribution system works.  If you are going through a divorce, the rules regarding your retirement account are even more important to understand.  Cleveland, Ohio estate planning and divorce attorney Dan Baron provides the following remarks.

Generally, at around age 70 everyone who participates in a qualified retirement plan must start making distributions from their retirement account.  However, if you are getting divorced, the minimum required distribution may change.  Under federal law, there is no adjustment allowed for post-year-end decreases in the value of your retirement account, such as could occur through investment losses, divorce, or a creditor’s seizing the account.

For example: Edward’s IRA is worth $1 million as of 12/31/05.  He turns 74 in 2006, so his 2006 minimum distribution is $42,017.00.  In 2006, he gets divorced, and the divorce court awards Mrs. Edward half of Edward’s IRA in a tax-free split.  So, Edward’s IRA is reduced to approximately $500,000.  Edward still has to take out $42,017 in 2006.  In comparison, if the divorce court had awarded the entire account to Mrs. Edward, reducing Edward’s account balance to zero before he had taken his 2006 minimum required distribution, the 2006 distribution would be reduced to zero.

Getting divorced is probably one of the hardest challenges you may face.  Don’t go through it alone.  Contact Cleveland, Ohio divorce attorney Dan Baron.  Attorney Dan Baron will fight for you, your assets, and your children.  Contact northeast Ohio law firm Baron Law LLC today for a free consultation.  You will speak directly with an attorney who will help you with your divorce and estate planning needs.  Call an attorney today at 216-573-3723.

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Creating a Business Succession Plan – Cross Purchase Agreements

Creating a Business Succession Plan – Cross Purchase Agreements

Whether you’re planning for retirement or tragedy, having a business succession plan is imperative for business owners.  Big business or small, planning for the financial stability of your partners and employees can mean the difference between business as usual and leaving your spouse bankrupt.   Moreover, understanding the value of your business can affect your decision to sell, retire, or leave a legacy.  Cleveland, Ohio estate and business planning attorney Dan Baron has the following remarks to help you secure your financial future.

One way to create a succession plan is through a “cross purchase agreement.” Two concepts stand at the root of all cross-purchase buy-sell agreements: protection and fairness. A surviving business owner wants to be protected from interference by outsiders when a co-owner dies. Concurrently, a business owner wants to assure fair treatment of his or her heirs in the event of death.

Step One – Choose a Successor

Unless you’re selling your business – where you would normally sell to the highest bidder – picking a successor isn’t easy.  Many factors determine whether a succession plan is necessary and sometimes it can be as easy as passing the business down through a family member.  When choosing a successor, there may be several partners or family members from which the owner will have to choose, each with various strengths and weaknesses to be weighed and evaluated.  In this case, lasting resentment by some or all of those not chosen may result, no matter what choice is ultimately made.  Outside of a family business, partners who do not need or want a successor may simply sell their portion of the business to their partners in a buy-sell agreement. Talk with a Cleveland, Ohio estate planning or business succession attorney to learn more.

Step Two – Evaluate the Value of the Business

As mentioned, your succession plan may be as simple as selling it off.  But no matter whom the intended successor may be business owners must establish a set dollar value for the business, or their share of it. This can be done via appraisal by a certified public accountant (CPA) or by an arbitrary agreement between all partners involved.  Tax attorneys and business succession attorneys may also assist in the business evaluation process.  Estate planning lawyers and accountants use various metrics for evaluation business including sales, stock value, liquidity, profits, reoccurring contracts, EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization), cash flow, and more.   In addition, your estate planning attorney may evaluate your business using a number of other methods including asset based or income based evaluations.  For corporations, where the portion of the company consists solely of shares of publicly traded stock, the valuation of the owner’s interest may be determined by the stock’s current market value.

Step Three – Cross Purchase Agreements

A cross-purchase agreement is a tool used by business owners to assure that “business as usual” continues if co-owner dies. Like an entity or stock redemption agreement, the cross-purchase buy-sell agreement stipulates that:

  • A deceased owner’s estate must sell the business interest to surviving owners, and
  • The surviving owners will buy that interest.

There are no exceptions—the estate must sell and the survivors must buy.

Creating a cross purchase agreement is commonly used a usually starts with creating a life insurance policy. Once a set dollar value has been determined for the business, life insurance is purchased on all partners in the business. Then, in the event that a partner passes on before ending his relationship with his partners, the death benefit proceeds will be used to buy out the deceased partner’s share of the business and distribute it equally among the remaining partners.

A cross purchase agreement is structured so that each partner buys and owns a policy on each of the other partners in the business.  Each partner functions as both owner and beneficiary on the same policy, with each other partner being the insured; therefore, when one partner dies, the face value of each policy on the deceased partner is paid out to the remaining partners, who will then use the policy proceeds to buy the deceased partner’s share of the business at a previously agreed-upon price.

Example: How a Cross-Purchase Agreement Works

Let’s say for example that there are three partners who each own equal shares of a business worth $3 million, so each partner\’s share is valued at $1 million.  The partners are getting older and want to ensure that the business is passed on smoothly in the event one of them dies. Thus, they enter into a cross-purchase agreement. The agreement requires that each partner take out a $500,000 policy on each of the other two partners. Now, if one of the partners dies, the other two partners will each be paid $500,000, which they must use to buy out the deceased partner\’s share of the business.

One limitation to be noted here is that, for a business with a large number of partners (five to 10 partners or more), it becomes impractical for each partner to maintain separate policies on each of the others. There can also be substantial inequity between partners in terms of underwriting and, as a result, the cost of each policy.

Cross purchase agreements are just one of many ways to ensure a business’s legacy.  For more information on estate planning or business succession, contact Cleveland, Ohio attorney Daniel A. Baron at Baron Law.  Contact a lawyer today by calling 216-573-3723.  You will speak directly with an Ohio attorney who can help you with all your estate planning needs.

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Building a Charitable Contribution in your Estate Plan

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.