Did you know there is a way to make special charitable gifts using funds that are eventually returned to you or your loved ones at a future time of your choosing?
Known as a charitable lead trust, this increasingly popular plan can be used to achieve what might otherwise seem to be conflicting goals, while you also enjoy significant tax savings and other financial benefits. See Example
Consider the benefits of a charitable lead trust:
- You arrange for a regular source of charitable gifts that will begin immediately and continue for as long as you decide.
- The amount of the charitable gifts can be fixed or vary over time.
- You or your advisors can continue to manage the funds in the trust, if desired.
- Such a gift can serve to reduce or eliminate income, estate, and gift taxes now - and in future years as well.
- You may be able to provide younger heirs with a larger inheritance than would otherwise be possible at a time when it is more appropriate that it be received.
Many are familiar with other gift planning tools that feature annual income for you or others you choose. Under these plans, when income ceases, any remaining funds are transferred to the charity. Under the terms of a charitable lead trust, however, your charitable interests immediately begin to receive gifts in the form of payments from the trust and the gifts continue for the period of time you determine. At the end of that time period, assets remaining in the trust are returned to you or other loved ones you designate.
Gift and estate taxes can be due on amounts over a certain amount given to others during your lifetime or through your estate. Because of the front-end gifts to charity over time from a charitable lead trust, however, Congress allows you to reduce the amounts that would otherwise be taxable by the value of those gifts to charity.
Depending on the amount of the payments, how long they last, and other factors, it can be possible to greatly reduce, or even entirely eliminate, gift and estate tax on unlimited amounts ultimately passing to heirs. In addition, at the termination of the trust your heirs can benefit from any growth in trust assets during the time the trust is in existence free of additional gift and estate taxes.
The assumed date of transfer for this example is March 7, 2014. This example has used the March 2014 IRC Section 7520 discount rate of 2.2% to optimize the charitable deduction.
NOTE: This calculation is provided for educational purposes only. The type of assets transferred, the actual date of the gift, and other factors may have a material effect on the amount or use of your deduction. You are advised to seek the advice of your tax advisors before implementing a gift of this type.
Planning Tip: Charitable lead trusts are especially attractive during times when interest rates are low and when assets used to fund them are expected to grow over time.
Replacing gifts with life insurance
Life insurance can be used in many ways to help you make charitable gifts more effectively. One example is the use of life insurance to "replace" funds in your estate that have been devoted to charitable use. The life insurance policy proceeds serve to provide an inheritance for heirs that might not otherwise be available.
For example, you might use the tax savings and all or a portion of the income generated by a charitable remainder trust or other gift plan to purchase life insurance benefiting your heirs. That way, Tulane University receives the gift you intend, while your heirs enjoy their inheritance—often at greatly reduced cost to you or your heirs. Check with your life insurance professional or other advisors for additional information regarding this option.