Leaving a Legacy
Many of us want to do our part to leave the world a better place. Fortunately, there are many ways you can ensure you’ll have a meaningful impact on the world by leaving a legacy that lasts long after you’re gone. Of course, you can also leave a financial legacy, using the wealth you’ve accumulated in your lifetime to do good in the world. Below are six different ways to leave a financial legacy.
Give gifts in your lifetime. If you have the financial freedom to do so, making financial gifts while you are still alive is a great way to leave a legacy. Money donated to qualified charitable organizations can be deducted from your taxes, saving you money while also helping you support a good cause. If you want to leave a family legacy, consider giving gifts to loved ones while you are living, like helping pay for your grandchild’s college education. Just make sure you’re aware of annual limits on what you can give to individuals without triggering gift tax ($14,000 per person in 2018).
Make a bequest in a will. Many people use their will to make philanthropic bequests to a favorite charity, their alma mater, or their church. Recognizing an organization in your will is a relatively easy way to leave a legacy. Bequests in a will don’t require any additional planning and are exempt from estate tax, provided the recipient is a qualified charitable organization. However, if you plan to make a substantial bequest to a charity, you may want to inform them of your plans in advance. This is particularly important if you plan to donate real property, like real estate or artwork, as not all charities will want or be able to accept such donations.
Create a charitable remainder trust. If you would like to make a substantial gift to a charity but also want to provide for your heirs or continue receiving income during your lifetime, a charitable remainder trust (CRT) may be an option. Here’s how it works: You transfer assets to the trust (and get a tax deduction at the time of the transfer), and you or your heirs receive income from the trust for a specified period of time. Then, when that period ends, the remaining assets go to the charity of your choice. A word of caution: CRTs are irrevocable, which means you can’t reverse it.
Set up a donor-advised fund. Know that you want to leave money to a charity, but are not ready to hand it over just yet? Consider setting up a donor-advised fund. This fund allows you to make contributions that are earmarked for charity and claim the associated tax deduction in the year you contribute to the fund. You continue to make contributions to the fund, which are invested and grow free of tax. When you are ready, you can choose a charity to receive all or some of the accumulated assets.
Fund a scholarship. Endowing a scholarship is a great way to make a difference in the life of a talented student. Here’s how it typically works: You give a certain amount of money to the school of your choice, which earmarks it to fund scholarships, often for certain types of students (e.g., female math majors, former foster children, or students suffering from a certain disease). Other scholarships may be established through community foundations. A seed gift of $25,000 or $50,000 may be enough to get started. However, while you may be able to have a say in selection criteria for the scholarship, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to select the recipient yourself. If you want to do that, you’ll need to distribute the money in another way, perhaps by setting up your own nonprofit organization.
Start a foundation. Starting a family foundation is appealing to many, especially those who like the idea of having greater control over how their money is used, as well as the prestige that comes with running a foundation. Well-managed private foundations can also endure for many generations after you’re gone. But you’ll need substantial assets to make setting up a foundation worth it. Plus, foundations are complicated and expensive to set up and administer. If you are committed to the idea of giving back and especially if you want to keep the entire family involved in giving (a concern for many wealthy families), a private foundation could be the way to go.
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This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.