People who are soul-searching as they contemplate their legacies often find they would like to provide resources for charitable causes in their estate plans. If it is within your means to do so this is certainly a very rewarding act, one that is personally enriching and tangibly useful to the community.
The trick is to identify the charity or charities worthy of your interest and contributions. You may have heard stories about some charitable organizations paying executives huge salaries and consuming significant resources on an administrative level. This can of course reduce the ability of the charity to deliver support to the cause in question.
If matters such as these are a source of concern to you, CharityNavigator.org is a very useful online resource. This website has endeavored to put thousands of charitable organizations under the microscope and they provide their visitors with the results of their efforts. You can find out details about any charity’s financial performance and commitment to transparency or lack thereof.
The site streamlines things by using a star rating system to evaluate each listed charity. In addition to providing the opportunity for visitors to explore charities they are already aware of, you can also search the database to identify charities you may have never heard about. One could actually use the star rating to evaluate and pare down his or her candidates of qualified charitable organizations and go from there.
Another thing you may want to take into consideration is whether or not a charity is tax-exempt. You can visit the Charities and Nonprofits portion of the Internal Revenue Service website to gather this information.
Identifying the charitable organization you would like to support is only part of the task. You must then add this component to your estate plan in an intelligent manner for tax purposes and for the good of the charities you wish to benefit. To gain an understanding of your options, simply take a moment to arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday