Develop a long-term plan to support your favorite causes.
You may donate to a few charities around the holidays or throughout the year. If you’d like to add structure to those gifts, consider developing a long-term strategy for planned giving.
With a planned-giving strategy, you can maximize your tax deductions, ensure your plan continues in the future, and make a greater impact with your charities of choice.
Planned giving combines the head and the heart. You support causes you feel passionate about while choosing a method that fits your financial goals.
The following information is for your general knowledge and not a substitute for financial advice. Please consult a qualified and reputable financial advisor before taking any action.
How to Choose Your Charities of Choice
Not sure if that charity that sends you all those return address labels is the one to include in your long-term strategy? Ask yourself these questions when choosing your planned giving strategy:
- Does the charity’s mission align with my personal values?
- Does the charity further a cause I feel passionate about?
- Does it have a reasonable budget? How much of that budget goes to serving its mission vs. administration and salaries?
- Is the charity a 501(c)(3) under U.S. Internal Revenue Code? This shows it’s organized as a nonprofit under federal law and ensures your gift will be tax-deductible.
How to Give Today
Just like choosing donation recipients, deciding how to give is a personal choice. Speak with a financial advisor to determine the giving strategy that fits your needs.
Helpful thought-starters include:
- How much do I want to give?
- Do I want to give one time or annually?
- Securities, retirement funds, or cash?
In light of 2017 tax reform laws, which doubled the standard deduction beginning with the 2018 tax year, many older adults are paying attention to a provision established in 2009.
Adults age 70 and-a-half and older with an IRA can make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) of up to $100,000 annually to a public charity direct from their IRA. The amount donated does not count as taxable income because it goes directly from your retirement account to the charity. The QCD can also satisfy part of your required minimum distribution.
Financial institutions and community foundations offer donor-advised funds. For a minimum initial investment that ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the institution, you can set up a fund and periodically issue checks to your charities of choice. You can add to the fund using cash, stock, and sometimes other assets. A fund administrator can help you make distributions, or you can make them yourself.
A donor-advised fund offers flexibility and some tax advantages. For example, your contributions are tax-deductible.
Charitable Remainder Trust
If you have substantial assets, including securities that have appreciated for some time, a charitable remainder trust is an option for planned giving. The charitable remainder trust allows you and/or a beneficiary to receive payments during your lifetime. The charity of choice receives the remaining balance at the end of the trust term.
A charitable remainder trust allows you to make partially tax-deductible contributions to the trust. You can also receive a potential income stream for either a fixed term of years or for the life of one of the non-charitable beneficiaries. Speak with your financial advisor about the benefits and risks of a charitable remainder trust.
How to Give in the Future
You can name nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations as beneficiaries to your will or trust. You can specify a donation amount either with or without restrictions. That means either the charity can use the money however they wish, or you can specify a specific purpose.
In your will, you can promise a charity or charities a fixed amount or the residual estate. For example, you may specify that your two children each receive 40 percent of your assets and a charity or charities receive the rest. Including charities in your will or trust not only benefits your favorite causes, but it also emphasizes your values to your children and/or grandchildren.
Developing a planned giving strategy allows you to optimize your tax deductions and leave a legacy of community involvement. Plus, it feels good to give!