In my first article, I indicated that “planned giving” refers to charitable gifts made as part of an individual’s estate plan. Let’s talk about ways to make charitable gifts at death.
The simplest form of a charitable gift at death is a bequest or legacy under a Last Will and Testament. Sample language would be: “I give $10,000 to Assumption Church of Fairport, New York, to be used for its tax-exempt purposes” OR “I give all of my common stock in The Widget Company, Inc. to Assumption Church of Fairport, New York, to be used for its tax-exempt purposes.”
Suppose you have made a charitable pledge during your life, but die before having satisfied it. Such a pledge is not generally enforceable by the charity after death; in other words, it is not a legal debt that can be collected through the courts. To ensure nevertheless that your intention is carried out, you might say in your Will: “I direct the Executor of my estate to satisfy any outstanding pledges that I have made to Assumption Church.”
It should be obvious by now that it is imperative for you to have a properly written and signed Last Will and Testament, if you wish to make a charitable gift at death. If you die without a valid Will, the law does not allow the estate to make any charitable gifts from your assets (with some exceptions to be discussed next time).
By the way, all gifts to charity under your Will are deductible in full for estate tax purposes.
Questions? Call Dan Overbeck, Parishioner and retired Finance Council member, at 223-8963.