Planning Your Charitable Gifts
Sometimes, our desire to give leads us to make commitments that are difficult to fulfill. Any endeavor worth undertaking, especially one that can benefit others, deserves our careful consideration before we begin. Doing so can yield the greatest results. When contemplating making charitable gifts, consider the following:
What is a Lifetime Gift?
- Choose Your Causes. Good causes abound, and regularly demand our attention. Choose a limited number of organizations that concentrate on areas that are important to you, and then research what kind of help they need.
- Budget Your Gifts. When planning your annual budget, include charitable gifts. Spreading your donations over the year can both lessen the impact on your finances and increase the total you may be able to give.
- Plan Your Volunteer Career. Volunteering can be a personally rewarding experience, especially when you can see the fruits of your labor. Carefully determine the time you have available to ensure your best efforts for your cause and avoid overloading yourself.
- Review Your Plans. Just as you review your annual financial budget, you should review your annual time/value budget. Revise your volunteer commitments to include those where the rewards have been the greatest for both you and your cause.
- Consider a Lifetime Gift. If you are fortunate enough to be in a position to increase the amount you donate, or you are concerned about the future of the organizations you support, consider making a lifetime gift.
Quite simply, a lifetime gift is a promise of funds to be made available from your estate upon your death, typically through your estate. However, using your estate as a conduit can lead to a reduction in your intended gift through a number of factors, including:
You may be able to protect your gift through the establishment of a trust, but the legal and administrative costs associated with doing so may have an adverse impact on your gift.
- A decrease of your total gift due to a decrease in the value of your assets or unforeseen expenses; and,
- The elimination of your gift if your will is contested.
Guaranteed Protection for Your Charitable Gift
Your intentions—and your gift—can be protected against many of the factors above through the use of life insurance. You may find that you can “afford” to give even more than you had hoped.
In addition, the simplicity of doing so, and the satisfaction you will gain, will add to the rewards of giving. You purchase the policy with funds that are tax deductible as a charitable gift. It can be owned by the charity and removed from your estate, thus protecting your gift from the taxation, creditors, or legal contest to which your estate may be subject. As beneficiary, the charity will receive the proceeds of the policy at your death. These proceeds are guaranteed, and may even increase over time. The proceeds may be far more than you could have afforded to give outright during your lifetime or upon your death.
Imagine What You Could Do
Your lifetime gift through life insurance could allow you to give far more than you ever thought possible. It could help guarantee funding for your chosen organization and help ensure the continuance of its good works. It could mean that your best intentions become reality. The satisfaction that comes from knowing you have done the most you could will be your final, and well-deserved, reward.