Charitable Giving and Your Estate Plan in California
Charitable giving is a great way to give back and can be immensely rewarding. To make charitable giving even more enticing, you can make it part of your legacy via your estate plan. If you are interested in exploring how charitable giving and your estate plan can go hand in hand, reach out to the experienced estate planning attorneys at Kushner Legal (310-279-5166) in Los Angeles today.
According to Your Wishes
Your estate plan represents your financial legacy and reflects how you want your assets to flow to your loved ones, family members, and other heirs upon your death. If you also, however, want to serve the greater good, it is a noble choice, and there are a variety of legal mechanisms available by which you can meld charitable giving and your estate plan in a manner that supports the charitable organizations (as defined by California’s Office of the Attorney General) that are important to you. If your legacy is about more than simply accruing wealth and you are committed to giving back, charitable giving is an excellent option.
What Motivates You?
When you think about your estate plan, you naturally think about providing for your loved ones, family members, and those most important to you, but if you are interested in charitable giving, it is also important to think about the causes that are important to you, including any of the following:
- Organizations that provide disaster relief, such as the Red Cross
- Organizations that provide food and shelter to the homeless
- Medical research organizations
- Educational institutions, which can include your alma mater
You can even set up an endowment at your alma mater that boasts your name and continues to provide scholarships to students (who meet the criteria you set) over the years. While your charitable giving is naturally motivated by your philanthropic leanings, the dedicated estate planning attorneys at Kushner Legal in Los Angeles have the keen legal insight to help ensure that your wishes are honored and to simultaneously help you maximize the associated tax benefits of charitable giving.
Charitable Giving through Your Will
One of the most straightforward approaches when it comes to charitable giving and your estate plan is going through your California will, which can also decrease the total value of your taxable estate and related estate taxes (as applicable). Your will specifies exactly how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death, and this can include designating a charitable bequest or setting up a trust fund for a charitable organization that resonates with you and aligns with your values.
Your IRA and Charitable Rollovers
You can make a charity a direct beneficiary of your IRA, but there is another option that comes with a tax break. After you reach a specific age, the federal government allows you to engage in charitable giving of up to $100,000 per year directly from your IRA, and this amount can apply directly to your required minimum distributions (RMDs). When funds go directly from your IRA to a recognized charity, it is considered a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) – or a charitable rollover – and the amount you donate is excluded from your income, which means you are not required to pay any income tax on it.
Not all charitable giving involves cash. In fact, the gift of property can be a great way to combine charitable giving and your estate plan. You can even gift the property in question during your lifetime while reserving your own lifetime use, which means the property remains yours to use throughout your lifetime.
Gifting through a Community Foundation
You can create your own charitable fund via an established community foundation that allows you to determine the amount you want to give – and to whom – for the duration of your choosing. When you gift through a community foundation, you call the shots, and your charitable giving can be structured to support tax benefits and to maximize the financial impact of your gift.
Turn to an Experienced Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorney for the Legal Guidance You Need
If charitable giving and your estate plan are on your mind, now is the time to learn more, and the focused estate planning attorneys at Kushner Legal in Los Angeles are standing by to help. Our seasoned legal team is committed to helping you make a difference – while maximizing the tax benefits to you and your estate. To learn more, please do not wait to contact or call us at 310-279-5166 today.
Lars Kushner is an experienced attorney in estate planning and litigation strategy. He works directly with you on an individual basis to ensure your needs are met.