Make philanthropy an important part of your estate plan

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How will you choose to allocate your accumulated wealth during the course of your lifetime? The decisions are complicated and very personal. Philanthropic giving can create an opportunity to balance the obligation of providing for your heirs with your interest in contributing to the future of a favorite organization or institution. As an estate planning tool, charitable gifts can be used to help manage taxes, shift assets, and transfer wealth intergenerationally — while simultaneously making a significant contribution to a charitable organization.

Charitable trusts offer many benefits

While there are several different types of charitable trusts, all provide the donor with a tax deduction, can provide a stream of income, and the knowledge that they have created a substantial philanthropic gift.
If you are interested in making a major gift to an organization, you might consider creating a charitable remainder trust. The contribution of a marketable asset to a properly executed charitable remainder trust allows you to receive income from the investment during your lifetime and take an immediate charitable deduction for the present value of the charitable organization's remainder interest. The value of the deduction is calculated from the current fair market value of the asset, the planned annual payout, other factors depending on the type of charitable remainder trust, and a discount rate supplied by the IRS.
In addition to stocks, bonds, and cash, you can also fund a charitable remainder trust with closely held stock, real estate, and art. Be forewarned, however, that all of these transactions are complicated and require counsel from skilled professionals, including tax professionals, attorneys, and appraisers.

Private foundations are still an option

All capital gains taxes associated with the transfer of appreciated assets are waived when such assets are transferred to a charitable organization. Therefore, a private foundation offers yet another opportunity for putting a large amount of assets to work for what the IRS calls "any qualified purpose" while preserving some measure of control for the donor.
With skilled management and family involvement, a private foundation can exist in perpetuity and provide ongoing assistance for any appropriate educational, scientific, social, or cultural effort.

Proceed With Caution

Philanthropy can complement your overall estate plan and make a meaningful difference to the organizations and institutions that are important to you and your family. Due to the complexity and irrevocable nature of many philanthropic gifts, you should consult with your personal professional advisors before committing to a charitable giving program.

Any information presented about tax considerations affecting client financial transactions or arrangements is not intended as tax advice and should not be relied upon for any purpose. Neither Merrill Edge nor its financial solutions professionals provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Clients should review any planned financial transactions or arrangements that may have tax, accounting or legal implications with their personal professionals.

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