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Charitable trusts support philanthropy and offer tax benefits

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Charitable trusts are a remarkable tool for those who wish to leave a lasting legacy through philanthropy while also gaining tax advantages. Setting up a charitable trust can provide a structured way to support favorite causes over time.

There are ways to use charitable trusts to support philanthropy and obtain tax benefits.

Understanding charitable trusts

A charitable trust is a legal arrangement that allows individuals to donate assets to a charity of their choice, which the trust then manages. There are two main types of charitable trusts: the charitable lead trust and the charitable remainder trust. Each type serves a different purpose and offers distinct advantages, depending on the donor’s goals.

Charitable lead trusts

A charitable lead trust allows the trust to make annual donations to a specified charity for a set number of years or for the lifetime of the donor. After this period ends, the remaining assets in the trust can either return to the donor or pass on to heirs.

This type of trust is ideal for donors who want to support a charity over time but also wish to keep the principal for themselves or their family. The primary tax benefit of a CLT is that it reduces the donor’s taxable estate, which can be particularly advantageous for those with significant assets.

Charitable remainder trusts

In contrast, a charitable remainder trust works by initially providing an income stream to the donor or other named beneficiaries for a period. This is usually for life or a term of up to 20 years. After this period, the remaining assets in the trust go to the chosen charitable organizations.

CRTs are especially beneficial for individuals who have highly appreciated assets. They can place these assets into the trust and sell them without incurring capital gains tax immediately. This type of trust provides income tax deductions based on the value of the assets transferred to charity, along with reducing potential estate taxes.

Tax benefits

The tax benefits of charitable trusts in Virginia mirror those offered at the federal level, with deductions applicable for income, gift and estate taxes. The exact amount of the deduction depends on several factors, including the type of trust, its term, the projected income payments from the trust and the current applicable federal rates.

Setting up a charitable trust involves careful planning and understanding of both the legal and tax implications. It allows donors to create a lasting impact while enjoying financial benefits.

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