Giving to Family and Charity:
My clients have taught me that successful people give of themselves and their money. Some talk about the satisfaction of seeing good things while they are still alive. Others talk about the benefits of helping out.
Only People Without Money Think It Solves Problems: Money and assets need to be taken care of or they will be gone and often situations are worse than before. This is true of gifts given during life and upon death.
Gifts to Family During Life: Tax law allows annual gifts to as many persons as you want each year without any tax consequences or reporting [in 2012 the amount is $13,000]. Gifts of a value over that should be discussed with your lawyer and CPA (a tax return is required to be filed by the person MAKING the gift over that amount). There is a lot to discuss as to your purpose, manner and impact of family gifting.
Gifts to Charity During Life: Most people give to charity as there are things they care about and they want to make their caring count. These amounts are tax deductible to “qualified” charities. Successful people look to the accountability of the charity for the purposes of the gift.
Gifting Programs During Life and at Death (or Afterwards): The common theme is that gifting is an important part of your legacy and what you think is important. That is why it is so important to know about Planned Giving which is any plan that involves a goal and action to carry out that goal.
Planned Giving to Family at or after Death: Simply stated, if you leave assets to family or friends upon your death (or to be given to them over time) you are providing resources for them after you are gone. Your true legacy is your impact upon those you care for so shouldn’t you make the effort that the impact from your assets is consistent to who you are and what you stand for?
Planned Giving to Charity at or after Death: If it is a large gift to charity then the large word “Philanthropy” is often used but the idea is the same for charity as it is for family.
Control: There is power and control around money. If matters are to be handled over time then more attention needs to be given to avoid problems.
SUMMARY: Successful people plan their gifts to family, friends and charity to promote what they believe to be worthwhile and significant. There are steps to follow to give legal effect to your wishes.