Leaving a gift in a will to a specific charity is a noble gesture, but it’s important that you leave your gift in the proper way to ensure that the charity you are making your gift to isn’t left paying penalties. As a top Tampa estate planning attorney firm, Weidner Law helps many clients to set up this type of arrangement. So, today we want to share what you need to know if you plan on making this type of posthumous charitable gift.

Leaving a Gift in a Will: What You Need to Know When Estate Planning

If you have plans of leaving a charitable donation in your last will and testament (also known as a charitable legacy), then it’s important that the process is done correctly. As the top estate planning attorney in the area, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at how to go about this type of estate planning…

Choose Your Charity

The first thing that you need to do when leaving this type of charitable gift is to choose the charity that you want to leave your gift for. Most people choose a charity that has personal significance. When you have decided on the charity that you want to leave your gift to, make sure to contact them and find out whether they have a branch that deals specifically with this type of giving. This isn’t unusual and it’s important because leaving your gift to any other name can result in the misappropriation of funds or failure of your donation altogether.

Be sure to collect all contact information for any charity that you plan on gifting in your will including phone numbers, addresses, Tax ID information, and the appropriate name for the organization that is responsible for collecting and processing donations and legacy gifts.

Determine How Much You Will Be Leaving

There are a few options to consider here and your attorney will be able to help you determine which is best for you. Firstly, you can leave money in a trust. When you leave a charitable donation in a trust you can opt to leave a percentage of your estate’s value OR you can leave a designated amount.

You also have the option of leaving a charitable donation through your life insurance or an annuity. To do this, you would make the beneficiary or partial contingency based beneficiary of the plans or annuity your charity of choice.

Do You Want Your Charitable Gift to Be Used a Certain Way?

If you want your planned giving funds to be used for a specific purpose there are a few things that you need to do. Firstly, you need to be sure that your intended use of the funds is something that is possible.

Secondly, you need to talk to the charity that you plan on giving to to make sure that they would be able to carry out this duty as requested. For example, you may choose to donate to a local cancer charity and you may want your donation to be used for pediatric cancer research. If the charity is one that specialized in geriatric cancer research, however, then the organization likely won’t be able to carry out your specific wishes. To keep this from happening, call the charity prior to meeting with your attorney to write your will. Ask the charity plenty of questions and find out how much control you can have over your donation and whether that amount of control is acceptable to you.

Non-Monetary Gifts

If you plan on giving non-monetary donations then it’s also important to do your research. Find out whether the charity that you want to gift to accepts non-monetary gifts. If they do accept non-monetary gifts, be sure to ask what type of limitations or restrictions there are on those types of gifts and whether there is any specific wording that needs to be included in your gifting. It’s also important to know that there are some state laws and regulations that forbid charities from accepting donations of non-monetary gifts unless those donations are worded in a specific way in an estate planning document.

Talk To Your Estate Planning Attorney and Financial Planner

Lastly, be sure to talk to your estate planning attorney and financial planner about your plans for charitable giving to ensure that everything you have in mind is feasible and that it’s included and worded correctly in your will. Your attorney will be able to make sure that everything is inline legally, but they will also be able to provide you with financial and estate planning advice to be sure that your planned giving is the best plan for you.

It’s equally important to keep in touch with your attorney and financial planning advisor annually to be sure that your last will and testament is kept up to date and that any necessary changes are made to your estate planning documents according to any changes that have occurred over the last year (change to both your financial situation and to your family and your work life).

Need Help Planning Your Estate or Leaving a Gift in a Will?

If you live in or around the St. Pete or Tampa area in Florida and are in need of assistance with your estate planning, Weidner Law can help! Just pick up the phone and dial 727-954-8752 to set up your consultation right away.

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