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Charitable Giving Through Estate Planning

Posted by Zach Dana on October 9, 2018

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There are many reasons to set aside money, property and/or physical possessions for charity while drawing up your estate plan for after your pass on. Not only is it a nice thing to do and can help you leave a lasting beneficial impact on your community, but in many cases charitable giving can also help decrease the taxes on your estate. Here’s what you need to know:

It is Crucial to Consult with a Legal Expert

Even if you think you’ve got everything under control here (and perhaps you’ve already been actively consulting with an attorney during your initial estate planning), it is imperative that you have an expert help you along the way when it comes to designating items for charitable donation. This is of course to make sure you are staying within your legal boundaries in addition to ensuring that you gets the most tax breaks possible as a result.

Decide How You Want to Donate and to Who

There are many different ways you can give to charity: funding a program, setting up a trust, giving sizeable gifts, naming a charitable organization the beneficiary of an account, setting up your own charitable foundation, etc. But before you determine exactly how you would like to give back, it is important that you choose which charity or cause you would like to support (perhaps one that you feel connected with through some circumstance in your life). Existing charitable organizations may already have their own rules for estate planning donations, and different ones may be subject to certain laws. Your attorney can help you navigate this.

Set Your Budget Ahead of Time and Be Sure to Do Your Research

A large part of estate planning is simply making sure that everything you want to happen is properly budgeted. So, before you consult with an expert it is important that you already have at least some idea of how much you would like to donate (or what possessions or property). Then, it is a good idea to research how the charity or cause of your choice will use your donation. After all, you want to make sure that you will have the lasting impact you desire.