If philanthropy is an important part of your life, then you should consider making it an important part of your estate plan as well. Your estate plan allows you to provide for your family and loved ones in the event of your death. That same plan can allow you to provide for the causes that are important to you long after your death as well. Only a lengthy consultation with your estate planning attorney can determine how best to incorporate your charities into your estate plan; however, there are some universal key points about charitable giving that are important to understand.
You may choose to provide a direct gift through your Last Will and Testament to the charity of your choice; however, a trust frequently offers probate and tax advantages that a direct bequest does not as well as more flexibility than a direct gift.
A charitable trust can be either a living trust or a testamentary trust.
If you establish a living trust, and distributions are to be made while you are still alive, then the trust will typically need to be an irrevocable trust.
The most common charitable trusts fall into one of two main categories — lead and remainder trusts
A Charitable lead trust provides income to a trust for a specific period of time and then gives the remainder to non-charitable beneficiaries, such as family members.
A charitable remainder trust provides income to non-charitable beneficiaries, such as family members, for a specific period of time, or life, and then gives the remainder to a charity.
A portion of the value of assets used to fund the trust may qualify as a current deduction for income tax purposes.
The amount that passes to a charity may qualify for an estate tax deduction upon your death, decreasing estate tax exposure.
You may be able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on assets that are used to fund a charitable trust.