Broker Check

Charitable Estate Planning

Leave More Than an Inheritance—Leave a Legacy

Choosing who will inherit from your estate after you pass is an important part of estate planning. While most people will leave the majority of their assets to surviving family members, many are choosing to leave at least a portion of their estate’s value to charitable organizations. Charitable estate planning allows you to provide a potentially life-changing sum to a cause you care about, perpetuating a legacy of giving that can far outlive you.

At Griggs Wealth Management, we can work with you to plan for your estate and determine if charitable giving is a viable option for you. We’ll walk you through the process of leaving a portion of your assets to charity, and help you understand how your funds will be allocated after your death. We’ll help you to leave more than just an inheritance behind; we’ll help you to leave a legacy.

The Benefits of Charitable Estate Planning for You and Your Beneficiaries

Leaving a portion of your estate to a charitable cause gives you the opportunity to support a cause that extends beyond your immediate family and friends. However, even those beneficiaries whose inheritance may be reduced by giving some of your assets to charity can benefit from your philanthropic actions.

Charitable estate planning provides tax benefits to you during your lifetime, as well as tax benefits to those who inherit from your estate. If you have a high net worth, your estate will likely be subject to estate taxes after your death; however, those taxes can be reduced (and, depending on how much you give, potentially avoided) when you give a portion of your estate to a charitable cause. Just as charitable giving reduces your taxable income in life, so does it also reduce your estate’s taxable worth. This can allow your other beneficiaries to inherit a larger sum while you still support a worthy cause.

At Griggs Wealth Management, we can work with you to determine the right balance of investments for your risk tolerance, time horizon, and net worth.

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Donation

Giving to charity from your estate does not have to be done in cash. There are many vehicles for charitable estate planning, and each of them has its own pros and cons. Griggs Wealth Management can help you to select the right donation option for your estate, based on your personal preferences, estate value, intended beneficiaries, and other factors. Here are just a few of the giving vehicles that we may recommend, and why we may recommend them to you:

Donor-advised funds (DAF) - A DAF offers a turnkey solution that has low overhead costs and has the potential to grow over time without being subject to taxes.
Private foundations - Establishing a private foundation isn’t for everyone, but allows you to create a tangible legacy that is directly attached to your name and your estate.
Charitable lead trust (CLT) or charitable remainder trust (CRT) - A trust can generate income for your future beneficiaries (including charities) and allow you to pass it on to a cause you care about.
Other options include donating stocks, real estate, and other valuable property. Contact Griggs Wealth Management today to discuss your options for charitable giving, and we’ll help you to determine the best vehicle for your donations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Charitable Estate Planning

The concept of leaving a portion of your estate to charity isn’t a new one, but it’s often not as simple as people think. Here are some commonly asked questions on the topic. If you need more information or want to learn how it can benefit your estate, contact us.

Does High Net Worth Investment Management Cost More?

Like most investment managers, Griggs Wealth Management operates under an AUM (assets under management) fee structure. Our fee is a percentage of the total value of the assets we manage for you. So, while the percentage we charge may not change simply because you are a high net worth client, the final cost will typically be higher for managing larger portfolios.

What Non-Cash Items Can I Leave to Charity?

As we stated above, not all charitable donations from your estate must be made in cash. You can also donate publicly traded appreciated securities, including stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, and even the value of your life insurance plan. Additionally, you can leave non-publicly traded appreciated assets to causes you want to support, such as real estate, private company stock, or shares of a privately owned business. The process for leaving such assets to charity is even more complicated than leaving cash donations, so be sure to work with an estate planner.

Can I Specify How My Donation Is Used?

Yes! If you want to ensure your estate’s funds are used in a specific way, you can attach those stipulations to your charitable estate plan. For example, if you want to leave a portion of your estate to your alma mater, you can require they use it to establish a new scholarship fund in your name, open a new wing of the library, or any other specifications; or, you can provide the legacy gift with no requirements, and the school can use the funds however they see fit. It’s entirely up to you.

Can You Change the Beneficiary on a Charitable Trust?

Yes, you can change the beneficiary after you establish a charitable trust such as a CRT or CLT. However, it’s important that you do so in the proper manner, or you may risk having assets in the trust being returned to the estate and assessed for tax purposes. If you’ve established a charitable trust and want to change the beneficiary, contact us for assistance.

Start Building Your Legacy through Charitable Estate Planning

At Griggs Wealth Management, we have experience handling high-value estates and creating complex estate plans, including charitable trusts and other forms of charitable estate planning. If you’re looking to build a legacy with what you leave behind, contact us today to speak with one of our estate planners. We’ll help you find the right giving vehicle to protect that legacy.