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How and why to give your assets away to charity

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2020 | Estate Planning |

There are many philanthropic causes to support all across Wisconsin. Ideally, people donate for altruistic reasons or even a desire to downsize and simplify their life. Another sensible reason is as part of an estate plan. This might be for tax purposes or simply to ensure an individual gets to support a cause they hold dear to them even in passing. 

Forbes recommends using real estate, cash and securities to donate to charities. These coupled with tangibles are the most common donation options people look into. Before choosing a specific method, it is important to check with charities on an individual’s shortlist. This is because not all charities accept all forms of donations. Some, for instance, may only accept cash, while others also accept kind. 

Another good option is to use trusts. There are two main options to consider: charitable remainder trust and a charitable lead trust. Both of these are irrevocable trusts but prioritizes one receiver before the other. The first option distributes income to non-charitable beneficiaries over a predetermined period of time. The remaining funds then go to charity. In the second option, the charity gets paid first and then the heirs get the remaining value. 

Fidelity Banks shares that wealthy people often decide to donate the retirement accounts in their estates because of the high taxes associated with this type of asset. Charities do not need to pay taxes on money received from this avenue. For people who were determined to donate a portion of their accounts to charity anyway, choosing the retirement account is a good allocation strategy. 

When people have no suitable heirs or named beneficiaries, they often choose to donate their entire estate to charity. This decision is one that should not be taken lightly, particularly when choosing the option of an irrevocable trust.