Making Charitable Donations Part of Your Estate Plan

As you create an estate plan ( yes, you need one ), consider how your assets will be divided upon your death. Most people don’t consider charitable donations as a way to minimize estate/inheritance taxes. However, did you know that making charitable donations part of your estate plan could lessen the tax burden for your heirs? Read on to learn more.

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Why Designate Charitable Donations in Estate Plans?

For example, some people decide they don’t want to leave all their assets to their children or other beneficiaries. Likewise, others don’t have beneficiaries to leave their assets to but want to ensure their estate contributes to a lasting legacy.

For anyone passionate about a specific cause, making charitable donations part of your estate plan may be the right choice for you. Leaving funds or other assets to a designated charity could make the most impact. Tax-exempt charities are set up to maximize the effectiveness of gifts they receive, planned or otherwise.

Any funds given to a recognized public charity are not taxable. While this may decrease the overall amount any named beneficiaries receive, most people appreciate the sentiment during their grieving period. Making charitable donations part of your estate plan may be a good choice.

What Charities Count?

Any charity recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) can receive tax-exempt donations as part of an estate plan. These include charitable organizations, churches and religious organizations, private foundations, and other non-profits.

In addition, depending on the size of your gift, you should contact the charity to inform them of your plans. They may need time to prepare for a large gift (over $10,000). They can also provide basic information to list in the estate plan to streamline the process. If you do name other beneficiaries in your estate plan, you should probably let them know your plans, too. This can minimize hurt feelings and contested wills upon your death.

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How to Get Started.

There are a number of ways to plan gift to charities, foundations, or others as part of your estate plan. Estate/inheritance tax rules seem to change every year. So, your estate attorney can work with your designated charities to determine which options make the most sense for everyone. By making your wishes clear in your estate plan, you leave little room for misinterpretation. You can minimize additional work for your heirs and maximize their tax benefits while supporting organizations important to you.

In conclusion, are you not sure how to name a charity in your estate plan? RELAX! Our estate planning experts can walk you through options. Each will fit your unique circumstances. We help with will preparation, trust creation and administration, probate administration, and more. Call us today at 724-216-5180 or complete the online form to schedule a free consultation.

What Makes a Great Estate Attorney?

When a person dies, what happens to their stuff? If they have an estate plan, they will have everything outlined. Preparation is key. Estate attorneys can help someone put together a will, set up trusts, and schedule charitable donations on the deceased behalf. A great estate attorney will also make arrangements for other common issues after a person passes. So, what makes a great estate attorney?

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Desk-Side Manners

Medical patients will often seek out doctors with great bedside manners. Clients should expect the same thing, courtesy, and explanations from their estate attorney. Desk-side manners if you will. An estate attorney that cares will take the time to fully understand your family’s needs and your personal wishes. They will help you sort out your options. In addition, they will also help you fully understand each option before making those decisions.

Efficient and Thorough Preparations

Nobody likes thinking about their demise. Occasionally time just simply isn’t on the client’s side. Meanwhile, a good estate attorney will do a thorough job preparing estate documentation to minimize anxiety. Experienced and caring estate attorneys will do the same thorough preparations, but also turn things around quickly. You should never have to chase down an estate attorney for the status of paperwork if time is of the essence. Once you have discussed everything you want prepared, they should give you a timeline and meet it without issue.

Does All the Things

Sometimes estate attorneys will specialize in a few specific areas like probate or will creation. Exceptional estate attorneys can be your one-stop shop for a variety of legal issues. You can trust them to execute on everything related to estate planning and provide better results over engaging multiple attorneys. If they’ve been doing it long enough, an estate attorney should have the experience setting up and administrating trusts, finding ways to avoid probate, or minimizing tax implications.

Great estate attorneys can help their clients navigate a very complex legal system. They provide their clients peace of mind during planning and also during execution.

Do you have a great estate attorney? If you need assistance planning, updating, or executing on an existing plan, relax! Call our office at 724-216-5180 or complete the online form to schedule a free consultation.

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August is National Make a Will Month

If you’re like me, you’re wondering why we need to say August is National Make a Will Month. Why do we need to be reminded of the importance of having a will? Also, wills aren’t just for “rich” people. As responsible grownups shouldn’t we have already done this? We understand that talking about death – namely YOURS – can feel uncomfortable. But it’s worth a bit of discomfort today to save your loved ones the double heartache after your passing.

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A thorough legal will and estate plan matters to those you care about.
Making a Will

Did you know only an estimated 46 percent American adults have a will? That means more than half the adults in this country are letting the government decide how to divide up their assets after their death. A court will not know (or care) about your wishes. If you didn’t write them down in a will, they don’t matter. And if they should leave behind minor dependents, they are also leaving their future care decisions up to strangers. I can think of nothing more heartbreaking than a child losing their parent then being shipped someplace they’re not comfortable. Making a will also means your heirs pay estate taxes quicker and may receive the inheritances faster. So, yes, regardless of whether you consider yourself wealthy or not, you do need a will.

Updating a Will

Even if you already have a will, this National Make a Will Month can remind you to review it. It triggers a reminder to be responsible. Kind of like the time change triggers folks to check their smoke detectors batteries (another responsible adult thing to have). Situations change, sometimes frequently. Periodically reexamining the language in your will can remind you to update beneficiaries or remove assets you no longer have. If your kids have grown, maybe they should take more responsibility over your assets than another less-reliable family member. You really don’t have to review your will annually – unless you live a particularly chaotic life. But recognizing National Make a Will Month can be the prompt you need when necessary.

Ready to Make a Will?

Hopefully this prompted you to think more about what happens to your possessions and your loved ones after your death. If the thought of dying and leaving your loved ones stranded stresses you out, relax! Yes, August is National Make a Will Month. However, we can help you make or update a will any time of the year, not just during the month of August. Call our office at 724-216-5180 or complete the online form to schedule a free consultation.

New Year, New Look

Welcome to the New Year!

If you’re a returning visitor to our site, you may notice that things look a little different today. Like many each new year, I’ve had a ‘resolution’ to update the website and make it more useful to my clients. This year, I decided 2019 is time to take the upgrades off the ‘someday list’ and make it a real action today.

Even with our new look online, our commitment to offering our clients the best possible results remains unwavering. We still provide the same outstanding responsiveness and dedication to our clients (please see our Google reviews.)

Are you ready to make a commitment to your important resolutions?

Sometimes we need a little help from others to make progress towards our goals. For example, I couldn’t manage the upgrades to this site by myself due to time constraints, and a lack of proficiency in the field of web design. I had to call in experts. If you find yourself in need of assistance with tax, estate, or business law, you’ve come to the right place.

Maybe this is the year you resolve any outstanding tax situations. We can help! Together we’ll minimize your tax debts while complying with federal and state tax laws.

Perhaps you’re ready to create an estate, a will for your family, discuss business success plans, or administer a probate. Our office can help with everything from drafting basic documents to complex analyses on the best avenues for wealth preservation within a family.

We make achieving your goals easier by providing you the same legal services and expertise as the expensive downtown Pittsburgh firms but without the higher rates and lengthy drive. We’re located at 140 South Main Street in the heart of Greensburg, PA and offer cost-effective solutions to your situations.

Whatever your needs, the best way to receive proper guidance on a specific legal issue is to talk with a reputable attorney you can trust.

Let’s work on turning your someday resolutions into actions for today! Call us at 724-216-5180 or email us at john@jacochranlaw.com. We look forward to working with you.