If you’ve been following me here for a while now, then you must already know that one of the things I (and you too, hopefully!) believe and press for when it comes to estate planning is that it’s a tool for EVERY. ONE. Nope, not only for the old and wealthy!
Having said that, you ought to know, too, that the same can be said about charitable giving.
I know what you’re thinking–I don’t have much, how can I actually and valuably donate to charity?
Well, let me answer this (and more!) in today’s blog!
What do I get when I give?
What they would get is pretty obvious, so let’s break this down instead: what do YOU actually get in return if you do decide to leave something for your chosen charity (or charities)?
Let me tell you straight up–This most certainly is a win-win situation right here. They get, you get, too!
First and foremost, you cannot deny that good, good feeling when you’re able to share your blessings and/or support a cause that means a lot to you. Especially for those who have fought for charitable causes throughout their lives, the thought of you being able to show your love and support even after passing on just warms the cockles of the heart. (also, talk about life-affirming!)
Now, onto the practical aspect of things! A bonus (an important one!) of donating to charity is the tax benefits that come with it. I won’t bore you with the specifics (you can leave this technical aspect of your estate plan to me!) but in essence, our laws allow tax exemptions when we make contributions to tax-exempt entities such as qualified charitable groups and organizations. You give, you save!
What to chew over when naming a charity as an estate plan beneficiary?
Religious organizations? Educational or health institutions? Advocacy groups?
This should be an easy question to answer for those who are and have been supporting certain causes and charities in their lifetime. If this isn’t you, the most important factor to consider in choosing a cause or charity is whether it aligns with your moral principles and interests. No doubt–sharing the same values with your potential beneficiary should get a check on that checklist!
Another thing you may want to take note of is how your future charity-donee manages its finances and intends to use your donation. Ideally, you want a charity that can assure you that the bulk of your contribution would be used where it is truly needed most rather than being mostly spent on administrative costs, wages and bonuses, and such. Running costs are unavoidable even in charities, sure, but you definitely want to choose one that plans to put your hard-earned assets to the best use!
Once that’s settled, you have to decide how much–and what exactly–you’re going to donate. By what, I mean, what assets are you willing to give away? Because apart from the usual cash donations, you may also choose to pass on:
Real estate property
Personal property/valuables (think: artwork, jewelry, cars)
If you do have these assets as part of your estate and are willing to donate them to your chosen charity, note that this is a very important decision to make because of the tax implications involved. Again: You need not worry about the legalities and these tax particulars–they’re what I’m here for! ;)
Many donors also opt to make certain requests to, or impose certain conditions on, their charity-donee, and you may want to do the same, too! For instance, if you wish to set a specific purpose for which you want your donation to be spent, you may state so in your will or a trust agreement. Yes, requests such as this are not only totally valid, but totally possible, too, through your estate plan!
Anything else to consider?
Admittedly, this one would require more time, effort, and funds (most importantly!), but if there’s a certain cause you do want to support but can’t exactly find the right organization based on the factors discussed above, you may want to consider establishing your own charitable organization!
Doable? Absolutely–through and with the help of your estate planning attorney, of course!
To start with your charitable giving plans (again, not only for the wealthy!) or your estate plan in general, let’s talk! I would be more than happy to guide you through the process, so go ahead and sign up for a free virtual consultation here!
You may also contact me by clicking this link. So excited to be with you on this!