The holiday season is the giving season for many Americans. According to a recent survey, 63 percent of all Americans donate to charity in the final two weeks of the year. The leading recipients of those donations are charities related to church, poverty and children’s issues.1
Charitable donations can take many forms. It could be a cash donation to your favorite organization. You might donate old clothes, furniture or other items. Or perhaps you prefer to contribute your time.
Of course, you may also be looking for ways to make a substantial charitable impact. You may have significant assets or insurance that you would like to use to create a lasting legacy. Before you start writing checks, it’s helpful to develop a strategy. That way you can be sure your donations are used in a way that aligns with your wishes, and you can meet all of your objectives.
A financial professional can help you create your giving strategy. Below are a few questions to get you started. After developing a plan, you can then identify the best tools and methods for supporting your favorite cause.
What kind of impact do you want your donation to have?
This question is often the best starting point for any charitable strategy. You may know what cause you want to support and possibly even which specific organization, but do you know what will happen to the money after you make your donation?
It may be helpful to have discussions with the charity before you make your gift. Find out how the money will be used. Research the charity’s efficiency to see how much is spent on overhead, salaries and administrative costs. Find out if you can specifically direct how you want your money to be used.
Also consider when you want to make the donation. Do you want to see how the money is used while you are still alive? Or would you like to leave the donation as a legacy after you pass away? If the latter is the case, you may have more options available, such as using life insurance or a trust to facilitate your donation.
What are the tax considerations?
Many people donate to charity because they are passionate about helping others. However, it doesn’t hurt that you can also realize tax benefits by making a charitable donation.
The specific tax benefits depend on your type of donation. For example, you can usually deduct charitable donations on your tax return. However, there is a cap on the amount you can deduct each year. You may be able to reduce gains taxes on certain assets by donating to charity or using a charitable remainder trust. A tax or financial professional can help you determine which types of donations would provide the greatest tax benefit.
Are there any existing assets you could give?
Many people think the only way to donate to charity is by writing a check. That’s often the simplest approach, but it’s not the only one. In fact, you may already own assets that could be used as a charitable donation.
As mentioned, if you have assets that have appreciated significantly in value, you might consider donating them to charity through the use of a trust. The trust can sell the assets and avoid gains taxes, then pass the funds on to the charity upon your death.
You can donate permanent life insurance to charity. If you have a policy that you no longer need, consider making a charity the new owner and beneficiary. You get a tax deduction for your paid premiums, and the charity gets the death benefit after you pass away.
Ready to develop your charitable strategy? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at First Fidelity Group. We can help you analyze your needs and implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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18274 - 2018/11/27
First Fidelity Group
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