Ever watch a telethon on public broadcasting television like PBS or KCET? Ever hear a pitch from a local hospital about leaving a legacy? Charitable giving is something you can pursue with your estate planning attorney and the charity to leave a gift of your choosing.
The easiest way to implement charitable giving as part of your estate plan is a charitable bequest.
Charitable bequests are testamentary gifts made through a will or other estate planning device like a trust. This planning may provide significant estate and gift tax benefits. Charitable bequests take on many forms depending on the intent of the donor.
The most common form is an outright bequest of virtually all kinds of property (stocks, bonds, real property, and royalties) listed in an estate plan to be given upon the death to the charitable organizations of your choosing.
Other strategies for charitable bequests can take many forms including these described below.
Percentage bequest used to carry out decedent’s wishes. Say you have a current estate of $1,000,000. Rather than a dollar amount, a percentage bequest, say 30%, would allow for participation in estate growth or depletion.
Specific bequest for a particular item or items of property. "I bequeath 1,000 shares of IBM stock to my Hospital."
Conditional bequest is where “I give X, providing the Hospital builds a building with my name on it.” This type of gift may cause problems. They are deductible only if, at the time of the decedent’s death, "the possibility that the bequest will fail is so remote as to be negligible."