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Leaving a Legacy of Gratitude: Charitable Giving in Estate Planning

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Charity, GiveThanks, Thanksgiving

As another Thanksgiving holiday approaches, thoughts of gratitude for the many blessings in our lives are at the front of our minds. For many, this includes the opportunity to give back to the community and support causes that you believe in. Giving to charities, both while living and by including them in your estate plan, is an excellent way to not only support worthy causes but also to leave a lasting legacy that stretches beyond your immediate family. 

 

Why Charitable Giving? A Ripple Effect of Gratitude

It may seem obvious from first glance that giving to charities in your estate plan is a noble effort. The reality is that including charities in your estate plan can help these causes and organizations for years to come. Even modest gifts can have a meaningful impact on the organization and ensure that it is able to continue its important work. It’s not uncommon to see large donor displays when you visit these charities, and that’s because charitable giving tends to create a ripple effect of kindness, generosity, and gratitude. 

Planning for a Charitable Legacy

There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when you are considering including charitable gifts in your estate plan. First, you should identify the causes and/or organizations that you would like to support. Two of the most common ones we see in our practice are the Arizona Humane Society and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Next, you should consider how you want to give to these organizations. You can set up a one-time charitable gift to be distributed upon your death, or you could set up a charitable trust to provide ongoing support. Most commonly, our clients choose to give a set amount or percentage of their estate as a one-time gift to the organization. Lastly, you should consult with an attorney about any tax implications of your charitable gift.

Picking a Charitable Organization

Sometimes, we have clients who come to us knowing exactly which organizations and causes they would like to support. Other times, clients know they want to donate to charity but aren’t quite sure where to start. A good place to start searching is the Charity Navigator website. This is a comprehensive website that provides information on a wide variety of charities, and it will give you an idea of whether you are giving to a reputable organization that puts its donations to good use. They measure charities on metrics such as finances, impact, community connectedness, and the leadership of the organization. They also provide the basic information you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your gift goes to the correct charity: the legal name, the address, and the tax ID number (EIN). This way you can ensure you are planning for a legacy that will have a meaningful impact on the causes you support.

 

Concluding Thoughts

As we gather with our loved ones this Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect opportunity to consider incorporating charitable gifts into your estate plan. Estate planning is not just about distributing your assets. It’s also about leaving a legacy that promotes your values and honors your loved ones. By including charitable gifts in your estate plan, you can extend the spirit of Thanksgiving and leave a legacy of gratitude that promotes the causes you believe in for years to come.

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