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People often want to include their favorite charities in their estate plans in addition to providing for their loved ones. There are quite a few ways to accomplish charitable giving through your will or living trust. 

This blog will discuss how to ensure your charitable giving goals are met through your estate plan. A Florida estate planning attorney can answer your questions and draft the documents you need to accomplish these goals. 

Give Non-Cash Gifts

Usually, people think of money when they consider making a gift to a charity. You could donate a vehicle, appreciated stock, or other non-cash assets to a charitable organization. Your lawyer can advise you on how to transfer the title or ownership of the item correctly and avoid adverse tax consequences. If done correctly, a non-cash gift can be a valuable way to save money on your taxes.

Put the Charitable Bequest in Your Will or Living Trust

This strategy is quite simple. Merely state in your will or living trust the dollar amount or the item that you wish to give to the charity of your choosing after your death. The executor of your will or trustee of your living trust will handle the details of the transfer to the charity. This is one of the most common ways to accomplish charitable giving through one’s estate plan.

Setting Up a Life Estate in Property

You could give a house or other real property to a charity during your lifetime and reserve a life estate in that asset. You could continue to use the property for the rest of your life. The charity would take title to the property upon your death. There are some risks in setting up life estates. If you ever need to sell an asset because of a financial crisis, like massive medical bills, you cannot do that. 

Create a Charitable Foundation

This technique involves setting up your own charitable fund as a community foundation. You could receive tax benefits and enjoy seeing the fruits of your generosity during your lifetime. Your community foundation could create a financial legacy that can continue long after your life is over.

Use Life Insurance to Fund a Charitable Bequest

Some people do not engage in charitable giving through their estate plan because they are not wealthy. You do not need to be rich to participate in charitable requests. You could take out a life insurance policy that would fund your charitable request. It could be as simple as taking out a policy and designating the charitable organization as the beneficiary of the proceeds upon your death. 

Retirement Accounts

Another option is to use your retirement accounts for the benefit of charitable organizations. You could name a charity as the beneficiary of your retirement account or give funds directly to charity from your account during your lifetime. You will want to check with a lawyer about the correct way to accomplish gifts from your retirement to a charity during your lifetime to maximize the tax benefits for you and avoid violating any laws that govern retirement accounts. 

Depending on your situation, you might have additional charitable giving options available. You would want to talk to a Florida estate planning attorney about how to accomplish your charitable giving goals through your estate plan. Contact our office today for help with your case.