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The Basics of Gifts to Charities in Estate Planning: Understanding Your Options and Responsibilities


Gifts to charities can be a meaningful way to support causes that are important to you and make a positive impact on the world.


If you are interested in making gifts to charities as part of your estate planning, it's important to understand your options and responsibilities. Here are the basics of gifts to charities in estate planning:

  1. Bequest: A bequest is a gift of personal property (such as cash, securities, or personal property) that is made through your will or trust. To make a bequest to a charity, you will need to include language in your will or trust specifying the gift and the recipient charity.

  2. Charitable remainder trust: A charitable remainder trust is a type of trust that provides income to one or more non-charitable beneficiaries (such as you or your family) for a specified period of time, after which the remaining assets are distributed to a charity. This can be a good option if you want to make a gift to a charity but also want to receive income from the assets during your lifetime.

  3. Charitable lead trust: A charitable lead trust is the opposite of a charitable remainder trust. It provides income to a charity for a specified period of time, after which the remaining assets are distributed to one or more non-charitable beneficiaries (such as your family). This can be a good option if you want to provide financial support to a charity during your lifetime but also want to provide for your family after you pass away.

  4. Charitable gift annuity: A charitable gift annuity is a contract between you and a charity in which you make a gift of cash or securities in exchange for the charity's promise to pay you (and, if applicable, another beneficiary) a fixed annuity for life. This can be a good option if you want to make a gift to a charity and also receive a regular income in return.

By understanding these options, you can choose the one that best meets your goals and circumstances.


It's important to work with an experienced estate planning lawyer to ensure that your gifts to charities are properly structured and carried out according to your wishes.


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