Planned Giving: Gifts that Make a Difference

Planned Giving: Gifts That Make a Difference

by A. Scott White, CFP®, ChFC, CLU

Planned giving is a way to leave a philanthropic legacy and support charities you care about with a major gift made during your lifetime or at death. Depending on the size of your estate, there are limitations on how much you can leave to your heirs. Planned giving, as part of a comprehensive financial plan, can help ensure your wealth goes to where you determine it is most needed and in the most efficient manner.

Most planned gifts are not made with cash, and are made as part of your overall estate or financial plan. For many donors, their significant assets are in their investments, retirement plans, real estate, and ownership interest in their business. Planned giving focuses on how to secure gifts from your assets in a manner that is more beneficial than writing a check.

There are many vehicles to make planned gifts, including charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities and many others. Bequests are the most common and perhaps the simplest way to share your legacy. There are three main types of planned gifts:
Gifts payable to charities upon the donor’s death.

You can give either a specific amount of money or item of property (a “specific” bequest), or a percentage of the balance remaining in your estate after taxes, expenses, and specific bequests have been paid (a “residual” bequest). Gifts payable to a charity upon the donor’s death, like a bequest or a beneficiary designation in a retirement account or life insurance policy, do not generate an income tax deduction for the donor. They may, however, be exempt from estate tax.

Gifts that use appreciated assets.

Donors can contribute appreciated property, like securities or real estate, to a charity. They can receive a charitable deduction for the full market value of the asset, and pay no capital gains tax on the transfer.

Gifts that have income or other benefits.

Donors who establish this type of gift can receive a tax deduction for the full, fair market value of the assets contributed, less the present value of the income interest retained. If donors fund their gift with appreciated property, they pay no upfront capital gains tax on the transfer.

Please contact me if you have questions. I’m happy to discuss your philanthropic planning to help you determine the best planned giving options for you.

A. Scott White specializes in meeting the comprehensive financial and estate needs of high net worth families. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a Chartered Financial Consultant, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and holds a master’s degree in business administration. He served on the National Committee on Planned Giving’s Leave a Legacy committee. He is past president of the Financial Planning Association Southwest Florida Chapter, past president of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Society of Financial Service Professionals, past president of the Lee County Estate Planning Council, and founding president of the Planned Giving Council of Lee County. For more information, visit Scott White Advisors is an independent Registered Investment Advisor and is located at 1510 Royal Palm Square Boulevard, Fort Myers, Florida 33919; telephone (239) 936-6300. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member, FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory services offered through Scott White Advisors LLC. Scott White Advisors LLC is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Raymond James financial advisors do not provide legal or tax services. Please consult a qualified professional regarding any legal or tax matters.