If philanthropy is part of your daily life, you may have considered ways in which to include charitable gifting in your estate plan. The good news is that your philanthropic pursuits can be woven into your estate plan; however, care must be taken to ensure that you maximize the benefit of your charitable gifts both the beneficiary and to your own estate. Given the personal nature of charitable gifting, it is always best to consult one on one with an experienced estate planning attorney. In the meantime, however, a Vero Beach estate planning attorney at Kulas & Crawford offers some charitable gifting tips that will apply to most estate plans.
Consider Your Beneficiaries
If philanthropy is part of your daily life, you are likely the type of person who wants to give as much as you can to as many worthy causes as possible. While this attitude is certainly commendable, when it comes to estate planning you need to narrow down your target beneficiaries to a select group. In addition, the type of beneficiaries you wish to include in your estate plan will be important in deciding how to incorporate those gifts in your plan. While there is no set rule for how many beneficiaries you can include in your charitable gifting component, no more than five is advisable for the average estate plan.
Review Your Assets
This may seem like an unnecessary suggestion; however, a surprising number of people do not know their assets as well as they think they do. You may have a general idea of your net worth, but when it comes to estate planning you need to have a detailed understanding of all your assets and the current value of each asset. This is particularly important when you wish to include charitable gifts in your estate plan because your debts and obligations must be taken care of before you can start making charitable donations in your plan.
Consider Special Needs
The type of beneficiary to which you wish to make a charitable gift within your estate plan will dictate, to a large extent, what type of gift you make. For example, if your beneficiary is a political organization, a direct cash gift included in your Last Will and Testament might be sufficient. If, however, your beneficiary is a shelter for abused women, you might want to be more specific about how your gift is used. In that case, a trust might be a more appropriate vehicle for including your gift in your estate plan. A trust allows you to retain a strong degree of control over how the assets are used through the trust terms you create and the Trustee you appoint to oversee the administration of the trust.
Charitable gifting can begin while you are here and continue after you are gone through your estate plan. If you have the available assets, creating a charitable foundation during your lifetime is an excellent option. Not only will it continue long after you are gone, but you also have the opportunity to bring the next generation into the foundation and expose them to the benefits of philanthropy as well. Other lifetime gifting options are available if you do not have the resources for a foundation, such as a donor advised fund or a charitable trust.
Contact a Vero Beach Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about including charitable gifts in your estate plan, please contact an experienced Vero Beach estate planning attorney at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule a consultation.