The Benefits of Planned Giving

There are as many reasons to give as there are givers. But whether your reasons are altruistic or simply tax-related, the benefits of planned giving are powerful.

Satisfaction - Knowing that you are giving back to a cause, program or organization that holds special significance for you.

Control - Reducing the risk that your wishes will be hindered by circumstances beyond your control.

Peace of mind - Ensuring that family and financial matters are resolved privately.

Convenience - Putting your investment in the hands of professional managers, so you don't have to worry about ongoing decisions.

Security - Finalizing your charitable choices now instead of later - or never. Too many people postpone or never realize their charitable goals.

Financial - Lowering your current taxes and/or lowering the taxes your estate will be required to pay.

Planned Giving allows you the time to make solid, well thought-out decisions and it allows you to give now, not just after your death. Planning can protect you from being a victim of fraud. You can take time to think about which organizations you would like to help, how much you can afford to give, and when you will give during the year. You have time to research the charities you would like to support, or have someone, like your financial planner or lawyer, research them on your behalf.

Rather than giving donations on the spot, on the street or at your door, when you are uncertain or feel under pressure, take time to plan your giving.  There are many ways that you can plan current gifts that cost you little more than the taxes you'll save. You can make a difference today and know you're eventually leaving the world a little better than you found it.

If you are in your 70s or older, you represent part of a huge transfer of wealth to the Boomer generation; those in their 50s and 60s. If you are a Boomer, you probably have assets yourself and although you may still feel young and invincible, you're not. Time catches up on all of us. Providing for your family is number one, but creating a bequest to a charity will help many people and provide a fitting memorial for you.

If your world is complex and you have all kinds of property and investments, you should definitely work with a financial planner.  These professionals will help you plan your financial future and help you develop a plan to provide for charitable gifts - while you are alive - that can benefit the charity and you. That's what"planned giving" is all about, planning a gift to a charity.

Most charities are well managed and have professional fund development staff to assist you with the information you need to leave a legacy in your will, a "planned gift." Choose a charity whose work and mission have affected or interested you, or people you care about. By going this route, you may actually become involved with the charity, possibly becoming a volunteer as well as a donor. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Article reprinted with permission; Senior Living Magazine, April 28th, 2009