Giving to charity in your estate plan

A contribution to charity provides all sorts of benefits, both to you and the cause to which you’re donating. In addition to supporting an important cause, donors often also receive tax benefits. By incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan, you can extend these benefits beyond your lifetime. Below, we outline some of the ways Californians can give to charity through their estate planning.

Outright gifts

An outright gift is one of the most common, and easiest, ways to give to charity through your estate plan. They come in two basic types: direct bequests and residuary bequests.

A direct bequest provides a specific cash amount to the charity of your choosing. A residuary bequest, on the other hand, gives the remainder of your estate to charity after your specific bequests and estate expenses have been paid.

One of the benefits of a cash donation is that nearly any charitable organization can accept them. Smaller charities often do not have the resources to manage gifts of more sophisticated assets.

Charitable trusts

As we discussed in a previous post, a charitable remainder trust provides income for the donor during their lifetime, with remaining assets going to charity after their passing.

Another type of charitable trust is the charitable lead trust, which gives certain assets to a charitable organization for a set number of years. Then, when the trust expires, the remaining assets go to beneficiaries of your choice.

Given the many avenues one can go down for charitable giving, it often helps to have a financial professional help you with your estate planning. By consulting with an attorney who is also a CPA, you can learn the best way to distribute your assets in a way that promotes your legacy.