There are many ways we can be “generous”. Two ways we can be generous in our lives is with our treasure and with the proper disposition of those treasures upon our death.
When we speak about being generous with our treasure we often relate that to charitable giving. Giving back to our charities, especially our Catholic charities is an excellent way to thank God for the gifts with which he has blessed us. While this is the most important reason to give of our treasure, the tax advantages that properly planned charitable giving can provide are also important to consider. It is vitally important to understand the options available that can provide gifts to charities as well as maximize those tax advantages.
In the past, an individual received a tax advantage simply by leaving a certain percentage or dollar amount of an estate to their favorite charities at death. Due to the increase in estate tax exempt amounts, many have lost the advantage of leaving assets to charity through their will or trust. Also, by leaving those assets until death, there is really no guarantee those assets will be available upon death.
Therefore, many of our charitable strategies need to be implemented now to receive current tax advantages. Even if we wish to create a legacy gift (those gifts that are distributed upon death) we can better enjoy those tax advantages, and guarantee the gift will be made, by putting a plan into place today.
Being generous to charities in the best ways possible also allows us to provide for our heirs and families. This generosity of proper communication and planning with your heirs will provide better understanding of what you want as well as give them a piece of mind with their inheritance and what to expect and what is expected of them. For example, if we use IRA distributions to provide for our charities, we not only can create current tax advantages but also free up non-taxable assets for our heirs. Knowing which assets to use to balance the charitable and personal inheritance will not only provide understanding but ultimately save money, time, and frustration for your heirs.
Being generous can come in many forms. Understanding your options can be the first step in becoming more generous with your time, talent, and treasure.
As always, if you want assistance or have questions about estate planning please contact your local Sales Representative and they can provide the tools and information needed to get started on creating or updating your plans.
May God bless you and your families.