Planning your estate to include one or more contributions to an organization or a group of organizations that you care about is a wonderful way to leave a legacy. Organizations that receive gifts from estates appreciate them greatly. Gifts given through the estate planning process often comprise a large part of the funding that helps each organization do the work that it does.
Sometimes, even the most well-intentioned donor does not realize that it may not be beneficial to make a gift to one or more organizations by mentioning those gifts as bequests in their will. Donations must get discussed in advance of a donor’s passing with the organizations that are to receive them. This estate planning rule of thumb applies to all contributions, but it is especially crucial for gifts that are to get used for a particular purpose, gifts of non-liquid assets, and gifts of real estate.
If gifts do not get discussed in advance with the intended recipients, there is a danger that one or more of those gifts will get rejected. Gifts that get rejected go back into the estate that they were a part of, and they get distributed to the contingent or residual beneficiaries of that estate. It may come as a surprise to you that any organization would reject a gift, but some do, and there are various reasons why. For example, a gift of real estate could expose the organization to liability for multiple types of risk, from personal injury to environmental law violations and more. It could also require the organization to make an investment of time and funds to keep it in useful condition or sell it at a later time. Some organizations only accept unrestricted gifts, and will, therefore, reject gifts given on the condition that they get used for a particular purpose. These are just three examples of reasons why organizations decline gifts, but there are others.
Contacting an organization to ask them whether they would like to receive a gift from you not only helps you ensure that your gift will be accepted, it enables you to make the gift in a form that makes it easiest for the gift to get transferred to the organization and for them to take it. There are a variety of estate planning tools available that enable people to make all kinds of gifts.
You can use trusts, LLC interests, gifts to supporting organizations, and more. The organizations that you are giving to and your estate planning attorney can help you select the most appropriate ways to make each gift that you plan to give. If you would like to learn more about how to contact organizations about making gifts or you would like to learn about your options for making a particular gift, call the Wichita law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. at (316) 265-7802. Alternatively, you may contact us through our website to set up an initial consultation.