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Donating Your Estate to Charity

Oftentimes, people opt to leave some (or all) of their estate to a charity or organization that they support. If you choose to leave part of your estate to charity, not only does it benefit the charity, but it could help reduce the amount of estate taxes your heirs must pay on your estate.

Deciding What, to Whom and How Much to Donate

Before consulting with a California probate attorney, you must first determine which charity you’d like to support so that your attorney can advise you on different ways to make your donation. There are different ways to donate – you could make an outright bequest, name a charity as the beneficiary on your retirement benefits, or set up a charitable trust. A California probate attorney can also advise you on how to leave to a charity, as it could help reduce the amount of taxes owed or decrease the value of your estate.

How to Donate

There are three ways to donate, which your lawyer can help you choose which is best for your situation:

  • Bequesting Money
    Your lawyer will help you decide between a general or outright, specific, residuary or contingency and the bequest will be included in your will.
  • Naming a Charity as the Beneficiary of Your Retirement Benefits

Before contacting your IRH representative, you must contact your attorney and decide whether you want to leave a percentage of money from your IRA or retirement plan to the charity, or if you want to leave the entire amount.

  • Creating a Charitable Trust
    An accountant can help you decide which type of charitable trust to set up: a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT), a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT), a pooled income fund, or a charitable lead trust.