November 27, 2018 is “Giving Tuesday”, a national charitable giving event in the US that kicks off the holiday season. It is designed to raise awareness of the importance of philanthropy to support the mission of charitable organizations.

There are a number of ways to participate, and one of the easiest is to include your favorite charity in your estate plan. When you name a charity in your will or trust you can leave a legacy without affecting your current resources, and in some cases, there can be tax advantages.

How to Make a Charitable Gift Through Your Estate

Here are a few ways to make a charitable gift in your estate plan:

Designating the charity in your will or trust: This is the simplest method, and you just list the charity and amount, along with the other heirs.

Setting up a charitable gift annuity or remainder trust: These are separate arrangements from the will or trust, and may include some lifetime income or tax breaks.

Gifting appreciated assets: If you have appreciated assets, these can be gifted directly now, taking them out of your estate.

Setting up a family foundation: If you plan to set up a foundation, this is a long term way to make ongoing gifts to one or more charities using the estate assets.

The Impact of Philanthropy

The truth is that many charities cannot function without gifts from their supporters, and they rely on both cash and estate gifts to fund their programs. Some people worry about what their heirs may think when they give away some part of their estate, but most of the time your family will understand and appreciate your philanthropic efforts.

Moreover, some of the methods of estate giving can actually reduce taxes and may not affect the final value of the estate at all. For this reason, you should consult with an estate planning attorney to help evaluate the type of charitable giving that is best for your situation.

By giving through your estate, you set an example for others to do the same, whether your own family members, or others in the community who become aware of your generosity. On Giving Tuesday, you can even encourage others to do the same and make a commitment to shared philanthropy.

If you have questions about making a charitable gift in your estate plan on Giving Tuesday, please contact the attorneys at Shoup Legal.