As families grow in size and overall wealth, a desire to "give back" often becomes a priority. Cultivating philanthropic values can help foster responsibility and a sense of purpose among both young and old alike, while providing financial benefits. Charitable donations may be eligible for income tax deductions (if you itemize) and can help reduce capital gains and estate taxes. Here are four ways to incorporate charitable giving into your family's overall financial plan.
Annual Family Giving
The holidays present a perfect opportunity to help family members develop a giving mindset. To establish an annual family giving plan, first determine the total amount that you'd like to donate as a family to charity. Next, encourage all family members to research and make a case for their favorite nonprofit organization, or divide the total amount equally among your family members and have each person donate to his or her favorite cause.
When considering a charity, visit Charity Navigator to find star ratings and detailed financial and operational information.
Charitable giving can also play a key role in an estate plan by helping to ensure that your philanthropic wishes are carried out and potentially reducing your estate tax burden.
Ways to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan include will and trust bequests; beneficiary designations for insurance policies and retirement plan accounts; and charitable lead and charitable remainder trusts1.
Donor-advised funds offer a way to receive tax benefits now and make charitable gifts later. A donor-advised fund is an agreement between a donor and a host organization (the fund). Your contributions are generally tax deductible, but the organization becomes the legal owner of the assets. You (or a designee, such as a family member) then advise on how those contributions will be invested and how grants will be distributed. Although the fund has ultimate control over the assets, the donor's wishes are generally honored.
Private family foundations are similar to donor-advised funds, but on a more complex scale. Although you don't necessarily need the coffers of Melinda Gates or Sam Walton to establish and maintain one, a private family foundation may be most appropriate if you have a significant level of wealth. The primary benefit (in addition to potential tax savings) is that you and your family have complete discretion over how the money is invested and which charities will receive grants. A drawback is that these separate legal entities are subject to stringent regulations.
These are just a few of the ways families can nurture a philanthropic legacy while benefitting their financial situation. Connect with a Farm Bureau financial advisor for more information about your options and a conversation about the ways your family can make an impact.