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Home » Estate Planning » Want all or part of your estate to go to charity?

Many people in New Jersey give money and/or their time to charitable organizations while they are alive. Some people, though, prefer to give after they leave this life. Wanting all or part of one’s estate to go to charity is an honorable thing. If this is something one desires, it requires careful estate planning. Here are three ways one can ensure the charity or charities of one’s choice get the money set aside for them.

Option number one: Make the charity of choice the beneficiary of a retirement account. When a person or entity is named the recipient of a retirement account, the money can go straight to them without having to go through probate. As charities are tax-exempt organizations, the beneficiary should receive the full value of the account.

Option number two: Leave instructions in one’s will. A will can be very specific regarding who is to receive what, including charitable organizations. Those who want to leave all or a portion of their estate to one or more charities can state in their wills the names of the organizations and how much they are to receive. For those only leaving a portion of their estate, this can help lower estate tax liabilities, which can help heirs walk away with more.

Option number three: Consider a charitable trust. Trusts are a great way to protect assets and enjoy a few tax benefits. There are several ways to set up and manage a trust. No matter the finer details of how the trust works while one is alive, upon one’s death, the assets will be passed directly to the charity of choice.

Charitable giving is something everyone can feel good about. When wanting to include it as part of an estate plan, though, how one goes about it matters. With the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, New Jersey residents who want to ensure all or a portion of their estates go to organizations that mean a lot to them can make it happen.