People may choose to include charities in their estate plan for a variety of reasons. It may be to honor a family tradition or to support an organization that provided services to them during their lifetime.
A simple way to contribute to the charity is to leave the bequest in a will or trust. This states the amount of money the person would like to donate to the charity, identifies the specific charity who will receive the money and provides directions for how the funds should be used. It is important to use the correct legal name of the charity, since some charities have similar names.
The gift could be for a general purpose, meaning that the charity can use the funds as it sees fit. If the gift is for a specific purpose, it is important to make sure the charity can use it for that purpose, which may involve calling the charity to ask.
Stocks and retirement accounts
Donors may want to consider giving stock to a charity during their lifetime. If the donor has publicly traded stock that has appreciated in value, he or she may be able to give the stock to the charity and take a tax deduction which equals the fair market value of the stock at the time the gift is made.
Individuals may also be able to add the charity as a beneficiary of all or some percentage of their non-Roth retirement accounts as well.
It’s important that charitable donations are completed correctly in an individual’s estate plan. An experienced attorney can provide advice and answer questions.