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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Rebuilding Communities: How to Designate a Charitable Gift through Your Sacramento Estate Plan

November 8, 2017

This tragic hurricane season and other disasters have taken a toll on many parts of the United States and the Caribbean. They have also taken a toll on the charitable organizations that step in when a crisis hits.  As a will and trust lawyer in Sacramento, it is gratifying to meet with clients who want to use their assets to support these organizations and other charitable concerns. Even small gifts can have a large impact, and many people are taking this into consideration during the planning process. Working with a reputable will and trust lawyer in Sacramento can help ensure that you are meeting the necessary requirements so that your gift, no matter the size, will have the most impact.

There are countless reasons to designate a charity when planning your will or trust.  In many cases, people want to “give back” to the organizations that did so much during our recent crisis. For others, they simply want to use some of their estate to further a cause that is near and dear to their heart.  This can come in the form of a financial contribution, the transfer of real estate, or even the donation of personal items that will further the charity’s mission.

From a more pragmatic point of view, some people choose this route in part because of the tax-exempt status of most nonprofit organizations.  They know that their gift will not be subjected to “death taxes” or other laws that would decrease the overall value of what they have to give.  What we have created or earned during life is a significant source of pride, and many people derive satisfaction from knowing that it will pass fully to their charity of choice.

Some of the most common ways to remember a charity in your will or trust include:

  • A specific sum of money
  • A certain class of property, such as stocks
  • A specific asset such as an automobile
  • A percentage of what’s left after other items have been distributed to beneficiaries
  • A contingent bequest (if a beneficiary does not survive you, his or her portion would go to the charity)

In California, there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed to guarantee that your gift will make it smoothly into the hands of the intended recipient.  For example, it is helpful, if not necessary, to identify the organization by its full legal name.  There is also some typical wording that can help make your wishes clear and easy to follow, as well.  Again, an experienced will and trust lawyer will be able to guide and direct you in the process.

Ready to get starting in creating a charitable giving plan that benefits your charity or non-profit of choice?  Then be sure to call our Sacramento County estate planning law firm at (916) 241-9661 and ask to schedule a consultation.

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Very professional, comprehensive service and extremely valuable. Heather and her team are very knowledgeable and we feel they have our best interests at heart. They make uncomfortable decision conversations possible and manageable. Working with Heather we were able to focus our attention on important issues that we questioned or purposely avoided for too long. Now that these questions are answered and our family is covered, it's a wonderful feeling.

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