Monday, December 5, 2016

'Tis the Season


As we near the end of 2016 and Christmas approaches, our thoughts turn to those less fortunate.  Many of our clients express their desire to give to those in need and the various charitable institutions whose missions are to help those who cannot help themselves. However, some clients are unsure of how much to give, which charities to give to, and how they can make sure that the donation they make actually benefits those in need. 

A website designed to assist donors in choosing charities outlines four questions to ask of a charity before deciding whether to donate:
  • Does the charity match your passion?
  • Is the charity fiscally responsible, ethical and effective?
  • Do you trust it enough to give without strings attached?
  • Does the charity have strong leadership?

Even with that guidance, choosing a charity (or charities) to donate to, how much to give to each charity, or when to make a gift can be difficult. Why not make one donation to one fund (which allows for an immediate charitable income tax deduction and which can be added to over time), which can grow tax free, enable you to make charitable contributions or gifts to multiple charities over time, and utilize the experience of experts to help you determine what charities you would like to give to, and leave a philanthropic legacy for your loved ones?  All these things can be accomplished by using a popular charitable vehicle called a Donor Advised Fund, or “DAF.”

A DAF is basically an account set up at a financial institution or charity that allows donors to make a grant which qualifies for an immediate income tax deduction, but which can be distributed to multiple charities over a period of time.  The money contributed to a DAF can be invested and grow tax free, and multiple family members may be advisors to the fund to recommend different charitable contributions.  The experts at the institution which holds the DAF can help you and your family choose qualified charities and assist in the philanthropic process.

To discuss a DAF, and how a DAF might become part of your family’s philanthropic legacy, please contact an attorney at JEFFREY BURR, LTD. today.

-Attorney Rebecca J. Haines