Designating a Charitable Gift with Your Cary Wills Lawyer

by Jackie Bedard on December 6, 2011

in Charitable Planning,Estate Planning,Philanthropy,Trusts,Wills

As a wills lawyer in Cary, it is always gratifying to see clients who are both able and willing to use their assets to support their favorite cause or charity through a will or trust.  Even small gifts can have a large impact, and many people are taking this into consideration during their estate planning these days.  Working with a reputable wills lawyer in Cary can help you ensure that you are meeting the necessary requirements so that your gift, no matter the size, will have the most impact.

There are countless reasons to designate a charity when planning your will.  In many cases, the individual simply wants to use some of his or her estate to further a cause that is near and dear to his or her heart.  This can come in the form of a financial contribution, the transfer of real estate, or even the donation of personal items that will further the charity’s mission.

From a more pragmatic point of view, some people choose this route in part because of the tax-exempt status of most nonprofit organizations.  They know that their gift will not be subjected to “death taxes” or other laws that would decrease the overall value of what they have to give.  What we have created or earned during life is a significant source of pride, and many people derive more satisfaction from knowing that it will pass fully to their charity of choice.

Some of the most common ways to remember a charity in your will include:

  • A specific sum of money
  • A certain class of property, such as stocks
  • A specific asset such as an automobile
  • A percentage of the “residue” after other items have been distributed to beneficiaries
  • The remainder after debts, expenses, and bequests have been made
  • A contingent bequest (if a beneficiary does not survive you, his or her portion would go to the charity)

There are specific rules and regulations that must be followed to guarantee that your gift will make it smoothly into the hands of the intended recipient.  For example, it is helpful, if not necessary, to identify the organization by its full legal name.  There is also some typical wording that can help make your wishes clear and easy to follow, as well.  Again, an experienced wills lawyer will be able to guide and direct you in the process.

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