When you make the decision to provide for the charities you support in your estate plan, there are many options you can pursue. You want to discuss your goals with your estate planning attorney to determine what type of planning will be of the most benefit to you. While there is no question that you want to help the charity through your estate plan, there is a significant question of what type of plan will best meet your needs. People leave money to charities for different reasons. While you can simply make a gift to a charity in your estate planning documents, there are different estate planning tools you can use to do so. Different tools have different benefits which can include avoiding capital gains taxes, increasing cash flow to the donor, or an income tax deduction. Bear in mind, you also need to consult with the charity before creating the gift as there may be a specific type of gift requested by the organization. Together with your attorney, you can determine the benefits that make the most sense for you together with the estate planning vehicle requested by the charity, if any. What form do these estate planning tools take? Here are three planning tools for you to consider:

1. Durable Power of Attorney. There is no reason for your charitable giving to stop should you become incapacitated. You can give your agent, under your durable
power of attorney, the authority to make gifts on your behalf should you no longer be able to do yourself.

2. Specific Bequest. A specific bequest is a designated amount of money that can be created within your last will and testament or your trust agreement to provide for your charity. The amount will be given pursuant to the documents instructions. It is important to realize that if you make this gift through your will, your gift will not be private and will need to pass through probate before the charity receives it.

3. Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT). Through this type of trust-based planning there are annual payments made to non-charitable beneficiaries, such as your spouse or children, with the remainder being passed to the charity after a specific period of time. While not all of your money in trust may be within this type of vehicle, this can be a good choice as it is a tax-exempt planning vehicle for planning.

When it comes to charitable planning, discuss your plans with your estate planning attorney. Your attorney has the knowledge, tools and experience to be able to make your plans a reality and ensure that the legacy you want to leave your charity happens. Have more questions? Wonder what type of planning is best for you? Schedule a meeting with our firm so we may discuss this with you.