For many people, the chance to use your wealth to support a worthy cause or charity is one of the great joys of developing an estate plan. While you can choose to give gifts now or donate them through your estate, you may want to consider establishing a charitable trust. Charitable trusts give you a wide range of options when choosing how to leave your gift, and they are not only for the wealthy. If you haven’t thought about a charitable trust before, here are several issues you may want to think about to help you determine if a charitable trust is right for you.
Charitable trusts are best for those who want to create a lasting and ongoing legacy. For example, if you feel strongly about the arts or want to encourage entrepreneurialism, a charitable trust may be the right way to go because these issues will never go away. On the other hand, if your charity would best be served by a one-time gift, a charitable trust is probably not suited to your desires.
Charitable trusts are also excellent for those who are strongly concerned about the values they leave behind. If, for example, you feel that young children need to be encouraged to develop a strong character or grow up with integrity, a charitable trust allows you the flexibility to support causes which promote your values. On the other hand, if you want to support your church or other specific organization, a charitable trust is probably unnecessary.
To set up a charitable trust, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney who is familiar with charitable planning options.