Posts Tagged ‘charitable giving’

Choosing Your Legacy by Incorporating Charitable Giving Into Estate Planning

Tuesday, March 17th, 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.

To Save on Taxes, Make Charitable Gifts Before Year’s End

Monday, December 9th, 2013


If one wishes to make charitable gifts as part of a tax-saving strategy, now is the time.

Although tax returns are not due until April 15, December is an excellent time to do a “dry run” on one’s tax return, to get an estimate of what one expects to pay in taxes, and to determine what charitable giving one may want to do before the end of the year, in order to reduce taxable income and lower one’s tax bill.

Newly retired individuals may benefit especially from such a dry run on their tax returns, as retirees are often unclear on how to manage taxes in retirement. If there are problems with withholding on pensions, Social Security or IRA withdrawals, then one may end up paying penalties and interest at tax time. IRA account owners can make use of a key strategy to deal with any underpaid taxes. It is possible for IRA owners to make a distribution and withhold the whole sum for taxes. The IRS will not consider it a late payment, but will treat it as taxes paid throughout the year.

Another IRA strategy for retirees is charitable IRA rollovers. After age 70 1/2, owners of traditional IRA accounts must begin taking required minimum distributions. However, they can make direct transfers of up to $100,000 from an IRA to qualified charities, and this counts toward the required minimum distribution, while not being counted as income.

Anyone wishing to make charitable contributions before the end of the year needs to be aware of the rules for timing different types of gifts so that they count for the current year. One may also wish to make gifts to friends and family members before the end of the year without triggering a gift tax. The limit is $14,000 for individual givers and $28,000 for married couples – to as many individuals as they wish.

When donating to a charity by check, the effective date of the donation is the date the check was mailed. When giving to non-charity donees, the gift is effective when the check clears.

Giving stock to a charity by certificate form is effective on the date of transfer in the records of the issuer.

Giving stock to a charity by electronic transfer is effective on the date the issuer shows that the stock is received, which can take several days. For non-charity donees, the gift is effective when the transfer is made on the books of the corporation, which can take weeks.