Charitable giving

One of the most rewarding things you can do is to give back. Including charitable giving as part of your financial plan and your estate plan is not only emotionally gratifying — it can reduce estate taxes, too.

Assess your own financial situation first

It’s important to thoroughly assess how much money you need to support yourself in retirement. So before you offer financial aid to others, make sure you have sufficient resources to contribute.

Careful planning can benefit both you and your charity

In addition to the emotional satisfaction you can derive from helping worthy causes, you may also be able to realize some tax benefits.

Options for charitable giving

  1. Make an outright charitable bequest in your will

    • The easiest and most direct way to make a charitable gift
    • Only requires a short clause in your will
    • Appropriate for smaller gifts
  2. If you are 70.5 or older, utilize a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) to give money from your IRA.

    • ​​QCDs were made permanent in 2015

    • QCDs count towards satisfying your Required Minimum Distribution

    • A QCD is sometimes more valuable than a regular charitable deduction because it reduces your Adjusted Gross Income​​

  3. Designate a qualified charity as the beneficiary of an IRA or retirement plan

    • Available for IRAs or employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s
    • Can be deducted for estate tax purposes
    • The charity will not have to pay income tax on the funds
  4. Use a charitable trust

    • Charitable lead trust. Pays income to your chosen charity for a certain period during your lifetime or after your death; after which the remaining trust assets are paid to one or more non-charitable beneficiaries named in the trust.
    • Charitable remainder trust. Pays income to one or more beneficiaries, for example you or your family members for a term of years (not to exceed 20 years) or for life, with any remaining trust assets going to your designated charity.

Tax consequences will vary, seek advice of your tax professional for additional information.

Other considerations for giving

Creating a plan for charitable giving can be a complex, but rewarding, process. If you choose to start a plan for charitable giving, you should also discuss the following with a financial advisor:

  • Will you make gifts during your lifetime or at your death?
  • If your gift is substantial, should you establish a charitable trust private foundation, or donor-advised fund?

We can help you help others

An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you review your options for charitable giving, incorporate strategies into your financial plan and coordinate your estate planning with your tax and legal professionals.