Misconceptions often get in the way of much good that could be accomplished. Unfortunately, one misconception about estate planning could be preventing quite a bit of good works from being done. Many people believe that charitable giving through estates is the exclusive territory of the very wealthy, or that it’s just too costly, given attorneys’ fees and taxes. While it is true that well-resourced individuals have made many visible and well-publicized contributions to the public good by leaving large gifts to charitable causes dear to their hearts, it is also true that charities benefit tremendously from every gift, large or small, whether given during the giver’s lifetime or after they pass away. It’s time to set aside everything you have heard about charitable giving and estates and learn more about whether you can make the charitable contributions you would like to make a part of your estate plan.
If you have one or more charitable causes that are important to you, we encourage you to talk with your estate planning attorney about whether and how to include gifts to those organizations in your estate plan. Just as there are various ways people contribute to charitable work, such as by giving monetary gifts or gifts of time and effort, there are more charitable giving avenues available to you in estate planning than the bequest in a will. Before you decide what to do, it’s a good idea to learn about the pros and cons of the charitable giving mechanisms that are a good fit for your estate planning goals.
Charitable giving can happen through your will. It’s also possible that including one or more bequests to charitable organizations in your will reduce the estate tax burden for your other beneficiaries. Your estate planning attorney can explain more about how to incorporate charitable gifts into your will if you desire to do so.
Retirement accounts are another avenue by which you can give to a cause you care about. Retirement accounts allow their owners to designate beneficiaries for the accounts, and you could select your favorite charity as your retirement account beneficiary. A bonus to choosing this method of contributing to a charity is that the charity will receive the full value of the account after it is liquidated because charities are exempt from estate taxes and income taxes.
Charitable trusts are another option worth examining with the help of your estate planning attorney. A charitable trust could provide you with tax benefits and other perks during your lifetime while at the same time benefiting the charity or charities that you want to support. There are several varieties of charitable trusts, and estate planning attorneys are skilled in guiding their clients in not only deciding whether a charitable trust is right for them given their assets and their estate planning goals but also in choosing which type of charitable trust to use in their estate plan.
If you would like to discover your options for contributing to your favorite causes through estate planning, it’s time to schedule an initial consultation with Wichita attorney J. Joseph Weber. Our attorneys can help you set estate planning goals and create an estate plan designed with those goals in mind. Please call our office at 316-265-7802, or contact us through our website.