Law Offices of Terri D. Mason, P.C.


How Do I Include Charitable Giving in My Estate Plan?

charitable giving paper message on assorted cashLeaving behind a mark in the world is an aspiration many hold. When individuals think about estate planning, it’s often about securing the future of their loved ones. But what about the causes and institutions that resonate with one’s values? This is where charitable giving in estate planning comes into play. An estate plan is not just about transferring assets; it’s also about transferring values.

Understanding Charitable Giving in Estate Planning

There are many benefits to including charitable giving in your estate plan, including:

Reduce your taxable estate. Charitable bequests and gifts can reduce the value of your taxable estate, which can lower your estate tax liability.

Support your favorite charities. By including charitable giving in your estate plan, you can ensure that your favorite charities continue to receive support after your death.

Leave a lasting legacy. Charitable giving can be a way to leave a lasting legacy and make a difference in the world.

Choosing the Right Method for Charitable Giving

There are many ways to include charitable giving in your estate plan. Here are a few of the most common:


A bequest is a gift of money or property that is made in your will. You can bequeath a specific amount of money, a percentage of your estate, or specific assets, such as real estate or stocks. Bequests are one of the simplest ways to give to charity through estate planning.

Charitable trusts

A charitable trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to donate money or property to charity while still maintaining some control over it during your lifetime. There are many different types of charitable trusts, each with its own unique benefits. For example, a charitable remainder trust can provide you with income during your lifetime and then donate the remaining assets to charity after your death.

Charitable gift annuities

A charitable gift annuity is a contract between you and a charity. You agree to donate a certain amount of money to the charity, and the charity agrees to pay you a fixed income for the rest of your life. After your death, the remaining assets are donated to the charity.

Life insurance

You can name a charity as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. When you die, the insurance company will pay the death benefit to the charity.

Retirement accounts

You can also name a charity as the beneficiary of your retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA. When you die, the retirement account custodian will distribute the assets to the charity.

Non-cash gifts

In addition to cash, you can also donate non-cash assets to charity, such as real estate, stocks, and artwork. Non-cash gifts can be a good way to reduce your taxable estate and support your favorite charities.

Step-by-Step Guide to Including Charitable Giving in Your Estate Plan

To help simplify the process, here’s a guide.

Step 1: Reflect on your values to identify causes or charities you wish to support.

Step 2: Research reputable charities that resonate with your chosen causes.

Step 3: Consult with an estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Terri D. Mason.

Step 4: Understand the tax benefits associated with your charitable donations.

Step 5: Decide on the charitable giving method (bequests, trusts, or annuities).

Step 6: Document your decisions clearly in your will or other estate planning tools.

Step 7: Notify the selected charities about your planned contributions.

Step 8: Revisit and review your estate plan periodically for any necessary updates.

Step 9: Communicate your charitable intentions to your loved ones.

Step 10: Safely store all relevant documents and inform a trusted person about their location.

Leaving a Legacy with a Thoughtful Estate Plan

Charitable giving in estate planning goes beyond just the transfer of assets. It’s a reflection of one’s beliefs and the desire to make a lasting impact. With the guidance of professionals from the Law Offices of Terri D. Mason, individuals can effectively weave their charitable aspirations into their estate plans.

If you’re looking to integrate charitable giving in your estate planning or need assistance with any other legal matters, don’t hesitate. Reach out to the Law Offices of Terri D. Mason today.