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Continuing charitable giving through estate planning

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2018 | Estate Planning

Many people in Lake Charles choose to support various charities throughout their lifetime. That drive to help often translates into a desire to leave a lasting legacy. By building charitable giving directly into the estate planning process, individuals can continue providing valuable support to the charity of their choice. 

Deciding on the charity is the first step, which may be more difficult than some might imagine. For instance, if a person donated to multiple charities but only has the means to include one in their estate plan, which should they choose? This is a person choice that people should take the time to consider before making a selection. 

Next, people must choose which assets to donate. While cash is perhaps the most common and easiest type of donation, it is not the only option. Donating a piece of valuable artwork, real estate or other physical asset are other common choices. However, not all charities are equipped to handle high-value assets. Those who are thinking of leaving physical assets to a charity should first check with the organization and consider leaving a cash donation if they seem hesitant. 

Finally, individuals must decide how the asset will be passed on. Leaving a charitable gift in a will is fairly straight-forward, and many people feel comfortable using this method. However, a will does not help utilize all of the possible tax benefits that one might get from a trust. Trusts can also manage assets that make continue donations to charities over extended periods of time, whereas wills usually yield one-time donations. 

Charitable giving is a deeply personal experience for most people, so there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to keeping up that practice after death. For some people, wills provide a simple avenue to giving one last donation to a favorite charity. For others, trusts open up more opportunities to provide continued support. For people in Lake Charles who are unsure of which approach is best suited to their goals, an attorney who is experienced in Louisiana estate planning may be able to provide careful guidance.