Archive for November, 2020

Choosing Your Legacy by Incorporating Charitable Giving Into Estate Planning

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

It is a common — and admirable — to want to leave a financial legacy by giving to charity after you have passed. When incorporating philanthropy into an estate plan, there are different ways to meet your goals. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you decide on the best options to maximize your gift and the potential benefits for your estate too.

Deciding Which Causes to Support

The first step of philanthropy in any form is choosing where to give your gift. This might be simple if you have already supported specific charities, institutions or causes throughout life, or difficult to narrow down if there is a list of causes you love. Perhaps you are just starting to think about giving and unsure of where to begin.

Either way, there are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide:

  • What am I most passionate about?
  • Which issues do I want to address for those who survive me and future generations?
  • What do I want my legacy to be?

Whenever there is a potential recipient of your donation, research is key. Always check to be sure that a charity or organization is legitimate and that your values align with those of the organization. You also may want to know specifically how your gift will be used.

Planning Your Giving

Littman Krooks Elder LawOnce you decide where to give, you have to think about what to give and how. Any cause will accept a donation of cash. Others are able to receive real estate, stocks, valuables, collectibles (such as art) and even retirement accounts. Again, an estate planning attorney can help you look at the entirety of your assets and the value of your estate, so you can weigh options for giving.

There are different forms of giving in an estate plan, each with its own possible benefits. The most basic is naming a charitable cause as a beneficiary of a trust or in your will. You could also gift a retirement or other account or appreciated assets. These options have specific tax benefits and can reduce the amount of taxes paid by both the estate and the recipient of the money.

Another option is to create a private foundation. This is a good choice if you would like to start doing some of the charity work yourself and have it carried on by others after your passing. It also allows some control of how donations are given and used.

You also might consider a charitable gift annuity. This option provides you with an annual income from the total donation amount in life and then gifts the rest to the charity of choice upon death.

A New York Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

There are many more aspects of charitable giving and estate planning than can be covered quickly so it is important to speak with a financial advisor or estate planning attorney about your philanthropic goals. A member of the Littman Krooks estate planning team can assist you with any of your questions and needs. Contact us here or call us at 914-684-2100.