A dream without a plan is simply a wish. Estate planning is not just about death and taxes — it puts you in the driver’s seat of your financial life, allowing you to set achievable goals. It is a great opportunity to focus on the legacy you want to leave behind for loved ones and your community, help you avoid the expense and delay of probate, as well as help you save on taxes.
The IRA charitable rollover provisions provide an important giving opportunity for retirees who are charitably inclined. This is particularly following the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”). Because the Tax Act will significantly reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize, and so fewer taxpayers will benefit from a charitable deduction for annual giving. However, the IRA charitable rollover provisions allow some retirees to receive a tax benefit for their generosity, regardless of whether they itemize deductions or not.
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act), it is estimated that fewer than 10% of Americans will itemize on their income tax returns. However, you only receive a deduction for charitable giving if you itemize. Therefore, the vast majority of Americans will not benefit from a charitable deduction under the Tax Act.
One option for those who are charitably inclined is to “bunch” charitable deductions together and to itemize every two or three years. This can be done via a large gift directly to the charity, prepaying a pledge for the following year, or, if you would like to have the ability to decide when and how to make the contributions in future years, through a gift to a donor advised fund.
All estate planning attorneys should be talking with their clients about charitable giving during an initial consultation. Ignoring the possibility of donating to charity can result in a lost opportunity both to you as the client and to the community.
Here are three questions your attorney should be asking you about charitable giving, either on your initial client worksheet or during your initial consultation.