Southern Massachusetts Charitable Planning Attorney

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Charitable Planning Lawyer Helping Residents in New Bedford, Easton & Hyannis

Charitable planning is an important component of estate planning for many individuals and families, both for the inherent rewards in making a charitable gift and the related tax deduction. Given the numerous opportunities for organizing your assets and charitable planning, it helps to have the advice and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.

At Surprenant and Beneski, P.C., we help clients explore options for charitable giving as part of a comprehensive estate planning strategy. Knowledgeable in the tax laws governing charitable giving, we provide each client with advice and guidance to meet their unique charitable planning goals. Above all, our objective is to help individuals and families in Southern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands plan their financial futures and establish a charitable legacy.

Options for Charitable Planning in Massachusetts

Charitable planning is beneficial both in terms of your financial future and your personal satisfaction. Depending on the circumstances, charitable planning can minimize capital gains taxes while providing you, or anyone you designate, with an income for life. Charitable gifts not only benefit individuals, communities and causes you support, gifting may also provide an estate tax deduction. Above all, charitable planning will create a legacy that will honor you and your family. 

The charitable planning attorneys at Surprenant and Beneski, P.C. will work closely with you to explore a wide range of options, including:

Charitable Lead Trust (CLT)

A charitable lead trust is a type of irrevocable trust that provides income payments to a charity for a fixed period of time; the remaining assets either go to the trustmaker (a “grantor” CLT) or his/her designated beneficiaries (a “non-grantor” CLT). Assets in the trust may be securities, real estate and other types of property. In a grantor CLT, the trustmaker or donor receives an upfront income tax deduction for the present value of the trust assets but does not receive additional tax deductions for future charitable distributions. In a non-grantor CLT, can minimize both estate and gift taxes, however, once the assets are transferred to the trust, they cannot be removed. 

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

A charitable remainder trust is the complete opposite of a CLT in that the assets are transferred to the CRT, which provides an immediate tax deduction, as well as income for a set period of time, which can be paid to the trustmaker or a spouse. The remainder goes to a charity of your choice after you pass away. As with a CLT, assets that are transferred into a charitable remainder trust cannot be removed once the trust is established.

Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA)

A charitable gift annuity is similar in some respects to a charitable remainder trust, but the difference lies in the structure: a charitable gift annuity is an irrevocable contract between a donor and a charity in which the donor transfers cash property to the charity, typically a university or nonprofit organization, in exchange for a partial tax deduction and a lifetime stream of annual income from the charity. These payments are backed by the charity’s assets and are more regulated than a CRT.

Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)

A donor-advised fund is a charitable investment account that is operated by a 501(c)(3) organization, also referred to as a sponsor or sponsoring organization. The donor can contribute cash, appreciated securities, real estate, and other property in exchange for an immediate tax deduction, and those assets appreciate without tax consequences. While the donor can make recommendations on prospective charities, the sponsoring organization has the final choice on the charity that receives the funds.

Some Tips on Charitable Planning

While leaving a legacy of charity is an important component of estate planning, there are a number of factors involved in charitable planning, not the least of which is to choose causes in which you believe. It is also critically important to do your research to ensure that the charities are legitimate and that your gift will be used for the intended purpose, rather than to pay salaries or administrative costs. You should also be realistic about what proportion of your assets can be set aside for charitable giving. 

Additionally, your charitable gift should not be overly restricted since this could make it difficult for the charity to use. If your assets are in stocks, for example, they should not be sold and the profits donated, rather the stocks should be gifted directly to the charity. Above all, your charitable gift needs to not only help the charity but also take advantage of the tax benefits available to you. 

Contact Our Southern Massachusetts Charitable Planning Attorney

At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we are dedicated to assisting our clients giving to charitable causes and practicing good stewardship in the most tax-efficient manner. To see how charitable planning fits into your estate plan, please contact our office today to set up a consultation.