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Planned Giving: Not Just for Retirees

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Planned Giving: Not Just for Retirees

"We’ve all heard the term planned giving. But, what does it really mean? And, is planning your donations or “gifts” really something folks under 65 should care about? “Absolutely!” advises GLAAD Board Member and Legacy Circle Donor Mike Schaefer, “Most people think gift planning is something to contemplate upon retirement. But you wouldn’t wait until retirement to start funding your 401K, right? The same goes for gift planning – the sooner you start thinking of your giving as part of a life-long plan, the more you’ll see the impact your gifts can build.” Plus, there is a wide array of tax benefits that gift planning can open up to you in all stages of your life. But before delving into the details, an easy brief introduction on what gift planning really is.

Gift planning (or as it is historically known “planned giving”), at its most basic is a donation of cash, equity or property through vehicles such as wills, trusts, or even insurance to a nonprofit organization. As mentioned above, these donations can offer many tax benefits and even guarantee you an income stream throughout the remainder of your life. The reason this is all called gift planning is because it does involve more counsel than an ordinary gift. All gift planning should be done in consultation with your development professional, an attorney, tax or investment advisor. But don’t let that scare you. There are many types of gift plans that can fit your exact situation to offer both you and your beneficiaries the greatest benefit.

A simple way to get started is by asking yourself: what motivates you? Is it the desire to help others? Is it the need for a tax break? Or are you trying to make sure your affairs are in order for your loved ones? The beauty of gift planning is that it can be used to fill all of these motivations. Though there are many types of gift planning (all of which will be detailed in subsequent articles) they all pose a great benefit to the donor. A living trust can avoid probate, a charitable gift annuity can guarantee the donor life income, and donating unused retirement account funds can sidestep what can be a 75-80% tax burden on those assets. “Gift planning works,” says Board Member Schaefer. “By thinking ahead about my charitable intentions and coordinating with my long-term financial plans, I’ve seen first hand how money I would have had to use to pay taxes has instead been directed to support GLAAD and LGBT social justice. Whether you are a young professional, a soon to be retired Baby Boomer, or are happily retired, taking the time to do your gift planning homework is worth every minute of the effort.”

In our next issue, January 2010, we will cover specific types of gift planning.

Please be advised that the information provided in this article is not intended as professional legal, tax or investment advice, but is intended as general information about gift planning. If you have any questions please contact Chris Nave at 646.871.8028 or nave@glaad.org.

The GLAAD Legacy Circle is a collection of donors who have included GLAAD in their gift planning portfolios.