Charitable Giving: Testamentary Gifts

There are many people who are in a position in their life where they have the wealth that they can give money to charity. A person also may not have family that they want to leave their assets to. If you find yourself in this position, you may want to consider making testamentary gifts to charities that you hold near and dear.

What are The Different Types of Testamentary Gifts?

Whether you intend to donate to charity upon your death or you plan on leaving testamentary gifts to other individuals in your life, there are many different types of testamentary gifts. Here are just a few examples:

• Specific bequests
As the name of this bequest suggests, a specific bequest is something that happens when you name a specific item to an individual. For instance, there are many people who make a specific bequest of a piece of jewelry to a loved one. The same can be done for certain items that you have that you may want to donate to charity.

• General bequests
A general bequest is usually a specific monetary amount which is designated to an individual or a charity through the pool of assets that are left behind. This amount of money is something that is paid to that charity or person before the rest of the assets of the estate are distributed and reduces the amount that the other heirs of the estate will receive. This is one of the most common forms of testamentary gifts to a charitable institution.

• Demonstrative bequests
A demonstrative bequest may be something to consider when you’re leaving a bequest to a charity, but you want to leave these funds to a certain aspect of the charity. For example, if you would like to leave a charitable donation to a school, you may want to leave these funds to a certain department or even to the library of the school. If this is the case, then it’s critically important that you clearly state your intentions for these funds.

Finalizing the Terms of Your Charitable Giving

If you’re considering giving any part of your estate to charity, an important step in this process is to determine which charities you would like to donate to. There are also different rules that are associated with testamentary giving to charities. A good rule of thumb is to make a list of charities that you would like to consider donating to. From there, you should make time to reach out to these institutions and learn their process when it comes to charitable giving. A charitable institution will almost always have a designated department or individual that you can talk to when it comes to this aspect of your estate plan. He or she will be able to guide you when it comes to the exact information or wording that you need to include in your Will, Trust or beneficiary forms. If this wording is not there, then you open the door to possible issues when it comes to probating your estate and distributing this money as you see fit. This is all the more reason why you should never attempt to go through this process unless you’re under the guidance of an estate planning attorney.

Set Up Your Estate Plan with Testamentary Gifts to Charities Today

If you would like to leave some of your assets to charity in your estate plan, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. We have extensive experience in helping clients to set up an estate plan which will result in certain distributions being made to their favorite charities. Whether you would like to leave your assets to one charity or of mix of them, our team can help you structure an estate plan that will accomplish the goals that you have for your estate. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your charitable gift options.