Articles Tagged with Charitable Giving

Benefits of Charitable Giving

When it comes to planning your Houston estate plan, one tool that should not be forgotten is charitable giving. As an estate-planning tool, charitable giving has two primary benefits. First and foremost, it provides an opportunity to give back and support the causes we care about. Secondly, charitable gifts reduce the taxable assets within an estate, potentially resulting in significant tax savings, particularly for substantial estates. A charitable trust allows Texans to achieve these two important estate-planning goals simultaneously.

A trust is an arrangement in which property is placed in the hands of a trustee to be managed and used for the benefit of a beneficiary. In the case of a charitable trust, the beneficiary is a charitable organization chosen by the grantor. Creating a charitable trust can have multiple tax benefits. For starters, a trust can be structured so that any donations made during the grantor’s lifetime can be deductible from their income tax. Furthermore, when the grantor dies, the assets within the trust are not included within the grantor’s estate. As a result, the tax burden on substantial estates can be reduced significantly through the creation of a charitable trust.

11.16.17If you roll the money over to an IRA first, you can donate funds from your 401(k) Required Minimum Distribution tax free. Be very careful to follow the rules, so that you don’t create a tax or penalty problem.

First, let’s define the RMD (Required Minimum Distributions). This is the least amount of money that someone who owns a retirement plan is required to withdraw every year, starting the year that the individual turns 70½, or, if they retire later, the year when they retire.

 However, if the retirement plan account is an IRA or the account owner is a 5% owner of the business sponsoring the retirement plan, the RMDs have to start once the account holder is age 70 ½—even if she’s not retired. The rules of what can and cannot be done with retirement plans are very strict, so you may need help from a professional.

6.19.17In the best of all possible worlds, your retirement finances include a nest egg that generates a steady flow of income while your principal assets continue to grow.

There are six key investment points that, if you can meet them, will make retirement finances work in your favor, according to Stock Investor’s recent article, “6 Retirement Estate Planning Criteria You Must Address.”

  1. Minimum required yield. This is the first factor when looking for reliable long term income. It’s calculated based on household income requirements and investable assets—typically IRAs, taxable brokerage accounts and other savings that are planned for retirement income. When the required percent of investment (portfolio yield) increases, so does the income risk. When the yield is too high to be practical, traditional thought is to liquidate some of your principal by gradually drawing down your investment portfolio over the retirement years or by using an insurance product, such as a single premium immediate annuity.

5.26.17An estate plan does a lot more than distribute your assets among family members and organizations that share your values. It also protects you and your loved ones. That’s why everyone needs an estate plan, especially if you have minor children.

It’s amazing that some people still think they don’t need an estate plan. According to an article in Trust Advisor, Why An Estate Plan Is Beneficial,” a small estate needs the protection that an estate plan can offer against unnecessary expenses and ensures that personal, financial and charitable goals will be fulfilled. There are four key reasons why everyone needs an estate plan:

  1. Stipulating Care for Yourself. This includes a healthcare proxy, power of attorney and living will that states how you want to be cared for, if you become incapacitated.

12.16.16New Year’s Eve is the deadline for taking RMDs if you are older than 70 ½. Haven’t started yet? Get on this right away to get it done in time. Otherwise, be prepared to pay a penalty.

You still have a little time to beat the last minute rush on taking your Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, according to Kiplinger’s “FAQs About Required Minimum Distributions for Retirement Accounts.” However, you had better hurry if you are older than 70 ½. You only have until December 31st and any delays could be expensive. Remember that you aren’t the only one making this transaction at this time of year, and you’re hardly alone in waiting until the last minute.

Here is some additional information to help you meet your deadline for IRA withdrawals and some special rules for 401(k)s.

7.5.16Whether your love is animal rights or protecting the planet, a trust donation creates a legacy that reflects your values and supports the future.

A woman’s love for animals was reflected in a significant trust donation given to the Little Rock Zoo, as reported in The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette article, “Animal lover leaves Little Rock Zoo nearly $3M, biggest gift ever.” A trust created an endowment fund, the Jayne and Fletcher Jackson Foundation, which will fund many programs at the zoo for years to come.

"Animals are what made her happy,” a zoo representative commented. “It was no surprise after we got to know her that the zoo was what she wanted to leave her estate to upon her passing."

Money in chest"We say to people: 'If you do nothing, your money will go to the state. Is that what you want?' That's enough to make them want to consider something else," says Andrew Russell, a certified financial planner in San Diego.

If you have no spouse or children, you may feel like you have an estate planning dilemma. How do you plan when there is no one to plan for? For an increasing portion of the population there are no direct descendants, and those individuals are pondering their wealth distribution options.

Reuter’s summarized the issues in a recent article titled “Estate planning for the young, rich and childless.” It’s in one sense a case of there being no easy or automatic options. This means that the sky is the limit. The other side of the coin, however, is that there is much room for option paralysis. For most, the most rewarding decision is to find a way to give back to the community and to the causes about which you care most through charitable giving.

Money giftToday, with smaller families and more women choosing not to have children, “the dynamic has changed pretty significantly for the generation of baby boomers. The option of doing something charitably significant with their estates is a change,” he said.

The New York Times recently touched on the subject of estate planning without a family.  It is an important topic for those without future generations to inherit their assets. If this issue affects you or someone you know, then be sure to read the article titled “In Estate Planning, Family Isn’t Always First.

In the beginning and in the end, estate planning is always about disposing of your assets. Both in popular imagination and in the laws on the books, this commonly means the how and why of giving it to family members. Nevertheless, even with no lineal heirs to inherit your assets, there remains important decisions to be made. Optimistically, this means the sky is the limit.

Th Picking the right charity can be so complicated that it makes picking stocks look easy.

When you give to charity, do you ever wonder if your donation is really going where it's intended? Or if your gift is doing the work you intended?

If you are wrestling with these and similar questions, you may be interested in a recent article in The New York Times titled “Donating, and Making Sure the Money Is Put to Work.

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