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  • Writer's pictureEvan Miller

Charitable Giving Through Your Estate: How to Leave a Lasting Impact this Christmas




Introduction As Christmas envelops us in a spirit of love and generosity, it's a poignant time to reflect on the legacy we wish to leave behind. For many, this includes a desire to extend their goodwill beyond their lifetime through charitable giving in their estate plan. This blog post will explore how you can incorporate charity into your estate plan, turning the seasonal spirit of giving into a lasting testament to your values.


Why Consider Charitable Giving in Estate Planning? Charitable giving through your estate plan allows you to support causes close to your heart, long after you've passed. Beyond the personal satisfaction of contributing to meaningful work, there are often tangible tax benefits for your estate and heirs.


Methods of Charitable Giving in Your Estate Plan

  1. Bequests in Your Will: A simple way to include charity is by making a bequest in your will. Specify a dollar amount, a particular asset, or a percentage of your estate to go to your chosen charity.

  2. Charitable Trusts: Establishing a charitable trust can offer more control and potential income during your lifetime. There are two primary types:

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT): You and other beneficiaries can receive income during your lifetimes, with the remainder going to your chosen charity.

  • Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT): The charity receives income for a set number of years, then the remainder goes to your beneficiaries.

  1. Donor-Advised Funds: Contribute to a fund during your lifetime and advise on grants from the fund to charities over time. Upon death, the balance can be designated to specific charities.

  2. Life Insurance and Retirement Accounts: Naming a charity as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement account can be a straightforward way to provide a significant gift.


Tax Considerations Charitable contributions can reduce the size of your taxable estate. In some cases, such as with CRTs, you can also receive an income tax deduction and reduce or bypass capital gains taxes. Discuss with a tax professional to understand how these rules apply to your specific situation.


Choosing the Right Charities Ensure the organizations you select align with your values and use donations effectively. Consider their reputation, mission, financial health, and the impact they have.


Including Family in Charitable Decisions Christmas is an ideal time to discuss your charitable intentions with your family. Share why the causes are important to you and how including charity in your estate reflects your values. This can be a wonderful way to instill a sense of philanthropy and legacy within your family.


Conclusion As you celebrate Christmas and reflect on the spirit of giving, consider how you can extend this generosity beyond your lifetime. Incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan not only benefits society and causes you care about but also creates a lasting legacy that reflects your deepest values. It's a gift that keeps on giving, embodying the true spirit of Christmas.


This Christmas, as you enjoy the warmth of family and the joy of giving, take a moment to think about how you can make these feelings endure. By including charitable giving in your estate plan, you can ensure your spirit of generosity lives on, touching lives for years to come.

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