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Options for charitable giving in an estate plan

Charitable giving may be of interest to people in Florida who are creating estate plans. It could reflect a person's commitment to a particular cause, but it can also help reduce estate taxes.

There are several ways to include a charity as part of an estate plan. One method is to include it in the will. Another approach is to make the charity the beneficiary on a retirement plan. Charities are not required to pay income or estate tax, so they would be able to take possession of the full amount.

Some people might want to consider creating a charitable trust. There are a number of different ways to structure a trust for charitable giving. For example, a person who wishes to remain in control of the trust might want a split-interest trust. This provides certain benefits, such as giving the person a tax deduction each time money is transferred into the trust, but it still provides a donation to charity after the person's death. Someone who is considering creating a charitable trust or donating to charity in another way as part of an estate plan may want to consult a lawyer.

An attorney may assist with other elements of the estate plan as well. For example, a person might want to establish a trust for a relative who has special needs. Since owning significant assets can affect an individual's eligibility for some benefits, a trust can be a way to support a person by paying for rent or other needs without hurting that qualification. Trusts have a number of other uses as well. They can be used to protect assets from creditors or control how those assets are distributed to beneficiaries. In the latter case, when distributions are made can be up to a trustee, or they can be tied to certain milestones.

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