For many people, philanthropy is an important part of their everyday life. If you are one of those people, your charity does not have to end when you are gone. On the contrary, with careful planning, your charitable gifting can continue long past the time of your death. For that to occur, you will need to work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney to incorporate charitable gifting strategies and tools into your estate plan.
The Joy of Giving
Are you someone for whom philanthropy truly is a way of life? Whether you give to numerous charities or focus on a single cause, you likely feel strongly about your charitable gifting. As you undoubtedly know, it isn’t always necessary to gift large sums of money to make a difference. Sometimes, a relatively small donation can truly change a life. Moreover, there is a true joy in giving that you also probably recognize. Given the importance of philanthropy in your daily life, it seems only natural to continue that philanthropy after you are gone if possible.
Charitable Gifting Options
There are a number of different ways in which you may be able to incorporate charitable gifting into your estate plan, including:
- Last Will and Testament – gifts to charity can always be made using your Will; however, there are several drawbacks to using this method. First and foremost, gifts made using a Will do not allow you to retain any control over how the gift is used by the beneficiary. In addition, if you wish to make any changes to the gifts you make in your Will it is usually necessary to revoke your Will and execute a new one,
- Trust – establishing a charitable trust is a popular way to include gifting in your estate plan. Both charitable lead and charitable remainder trusts, for instance, allow you to make gifts to both a charitable and a non-charitable beneficiary. Gifts are made to the charitable beneficiary for a pre-determined amount of time with the remainder being paid out to the non-charitable beneficiary – or vice versa.
- Donor advised fund or annuity – a donor advised fund or annuity may also work for your gifting. It works by transferring gifted funds into the fund. Although you will no longer own the assets, you will be able to direct how the funds are used. If you gift to an annuity, you will also be able to choose the beneficiary who will receive the benefits from the annuity.
- Foundation – creating a foundation is yet another way to include charitable gifting in your estate plan. This option, however, is best used when you have considerable assets to gift and the time to run the foundation once it is established. The benefits of using a foundation as your charitable gifting vehicle are numerous though, starting with the amount of control you will retain over how your gifts are used. In addition, creating a charitable foundation makes it much easier to involve your children and/or grandchildren in your philanthropic endeavors. Of course, running a foundation requires a considerable amount of your time and attention, particularly if you plan to grow the foundation by soliciting gifts from other donors as well.
As you can see, including charitable gifting in your estate plan can be accomplished in several different ways. The best way to decide which method is best suited to you and your situation is to consult with an experienced Massachusetts estate planning attormey.
For more information, please download out FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to include charitable gifting in your comprehensive estate plan, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Debruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.