As you prepare your estate plan, you may be considering making a gift to a charity. This is an excellent way to leave a legacy with your resources, but there are some things to consider when selecting one or more charities as beneficiaries.

Before you select a charity, here are questions to ask to aid your decision:

Is the charity well-established?

You will want to select a charity that has a well-established mission, and sufficient donations to make sure they will have longevity. This will ensure that your gift will be as useful as possible even many years in the future.

Do they have experience with receiving and administering estate gifts?

Smaller charities may not receive many estate gifts, and might be unfamiliar with certain types of trusts used in estate planning. This could limit your options when it comes to giving strategies beyond a simple bequest.

Do they offer formal recognition of estate gifts?

Larger charities will have a number of ways to recognize estate gifts, even while the donor is still alive. If this is important to you or your family, it is wise to confirm any donor listings or naming opportunities that may be available.

Are they willing to receive the asset type that you want to give?

If you want to gift assets that are unusual such as artwork, real estate or other valuables, you should check to see if the charity is willing to receive the property and whether they will keep or liquidate it. This can have a financial effect if you are forced to sell it yourself and pay any capital gains tax.

Can you designate how you want the gift used, or does it go into a general fund?

Many donors will have a specific part of the charitable mission they are interested in, but the charity may prefer that any estate gifts go into a general fund that can be used for high priority projects.

Are you a current cash donor to the charity, and how have they handled your donations, communication and involvement in their mission?

It’s a great idea to ‘test drive’ a charity by making regular cash donations, and in that way learn how they treat both the gift and the donor. When you make your estate gift, you will already be involved and educated about their charitable work.

If you have questions about charitable giving or estate planning please contact the attorneys at Shoup Legal.