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New York & North Carolina

Charitable Giving and Your Estate Plan


Charitable Giving As A Legacy

A comprehensive estate plan takes into consideration your financial position, your values, and how you live your life. When people think about estate planning and legacy, they often think about leaving an inheritance to their loved ones. However, you can also include charities and other institutions that are important to you in your estate plan. Is volunteering or community involvement an important part of your life? Would you like to leave money to your church or university? Perhaps there is an advocacy organization that you believe in and would like to leave money to? Including charitable gifts in your estate plan leaves a legacy that honors your values.

Designating A Charity in Your Will

One way to include charitable giving in your estate plan is to name the charity as a beneficiary in your Will. You will need to write your wishes very clearly to avoid any doubt, for example, specify whether the charity will receive a cash amount or a percentage of all remaining estate assets after paying debts and other bequests.

Beneficiary Designation Forms

Looking for an easier way to include charitable giving in your legacy? Name the charity or organization as a beneficiary on accounts that have beneficiary designation forms. Retirement accounts generally allow you to designate primary and contingent beneficiaries. This allows you to provide for your loved ones and designates who gets the money should you survive those loved ones.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Another estate planning vehicle for charitable giving is a charitable remainder trust. A charitable remainder trust is a tax-exempt irrevocable trust designed to reduce your taxable income by first dispersing income to the beneficiaries of the trust, and then donating the remainder of the trust to a designated charity. However, since it is an irrevocable trust, you cannot change your mind or regain legal control of the trust property.

Using An Estate Planning Attorney

If you would like charitable giving to be part of your legacy, an experienced Estate Planning attorney can assist you in choosing the best legal tool to accomplish that goal. An estate planning attorney can also ensure that your will complies with state law, takes into consideration specific circumstances, and delivers the best tax advantages.