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Charitable giving as part of a larger estate plan

For many in New York, charitable giving plays a significant role in wealth disposition after death. A firm grasp of all of the different ways in which philanthropic bequests can offer tax benefits while also helping others can help people feel comfortable with their estate plans.

The role of charitable giving in a sound estate plan

Incorporating a charitable giving strategy into an estate plan might significantly reduce tax obligations while helping testators support the organizations and causes they hold most dear.

Fortunately, there are numerous methods and vehicles through which trusts, charitable giving and tax planning can be combined to meet the needs of individuals and families alike, and these include:

  • Donor-advised funds
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Pooled income funds
  • Private foundations
  • Bequests of real estate, cash, or assets

Striking the right balance

The type of charitable gifts that are ultimately blended into a broader estate plan will, of course, depend primarily on the testator’s overall goals and family circumstances. Those with significant numbers of potential personal beneficiaries may wish to designate a smaller amount for selected charities, while others may intend to leave the bulk of their estate to one or more preferred causes.

As is the case with any type of estate planning endeavor, the key is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the scope of assets to be distributed, the potential tax implications of each possible structure and the testamentary goals of the family. In this way, it is possible to ensure that the needs of future generations — as well as of community-minded entities — can be met in the most financially optimal way.

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