There is certainly a place for special
trusts and foundations, but they are not a requirement. There are many ways people aren’t aware of to
be charitable both in your own family and also in your community.
Giving can be complicated,
especially when it moves beyond handing over cash or writing a check. A recent Forbes article provides some practical
advice you may not have considered. The article is titled “Five Ways To Be Charitable Even If You
Aren't Bill Gates.” And if you’re not Bill Gates, the “five ways” do
not require the complexities of family foundations.
Here are the Forbes tips for your charitable
- Give the gift of
education. Have you thought about giving to your own children or
grandchildren and in the form of a 529 college savings plan or a direct gift to
- Give your IRS
distribution to charity. Since you have to take your required minimum
distribution anyhow, send it directly to a charity instead. This option is
available for the remainder of 2012, but its future is uncertain.
your charity as your beneficiary on your retirement account. This option is
appropriate if you’ve decided that any retirement funds left over should
eventually pass to charity instead of loved ones. Be sure to designate your
charitable beneficiaries accordingly! Note: The full amount of your retirement
account given to charity is income tax free. If left to a non-charity, then the
full amount is taxable as ordinary income.
- Donor-advised funds. By giving to a
donor advised fund, you can give today, take the charitable deduction in this
year’s taxes, but decide which charities to benefit next year or beyond. They
are easy to establish too.
- Charitable gift annuity. Are you keen
on the idea of receiving a guaranteed lifetime monthly income, especially as an
assurance in old age? If you also want to benefit charity in the process, then
consider hitting two birds with one stone by opting for a charitable gift
This is just an overview of the
“five ways” featured by Forbes, so be
sure to consult with your financial, tax, and legal advisors regarding the
appropriateness of each for your circumstances.
Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss all of your estate planning options.
Reference: Forbes (September
20, 2012) “Five Ways To Be Charitable Even If You Aren't