Aggressive, Caring Representation

DSF Law Blog - Helping to answer your questions.

DSF Law Blog


Planning and Preserving Your Estate and Charitable Intentions - Dennis B. Dahlberg


It takes a team of professionals (legal, financial, gift planners, and others) to assist clients, donors and loved ones to complete their estate plans and ensure that their gifts to charity are met in the manner in which they intended.

 Many people during their lifetimes will give to various charities, and they intend, upon their passing, to make a final bequest, or even a continued legacy gift, to a charity.  If a client starts to address their philanthropic planning process early, it will provide more flexibility and options for clients.

The process of giving to charities is a fluid one.  a person’s interests and intentions can change many times throughout our lives.  It is important to revisit your plans and documents every three to five years or in the event of substantial life changes.

Additionally, it is important to communicate with your family members about your intentions to give to charities through your estate plan.  If you family dynamics does not allow this type of communication to happen, it is important to communicate these intentions to your legal, financial, and gift planning professionals with whom you have a trusted relationship.

You may also want to consider deferred gift planning.  Deferred gift planning refers to several specific gift types that can be funded with cash, equity, or property.  To make a deferred gift, a person decides to give at some future date, either a number of years from now or at death. A deferred gift is a present decision to make a future gift, evidenced by a legal contract. 

Planned gifts are referred to as such because they require more planning, negotiation and counsel than many other gifts. Planned gifts can result in immediate income, income to charity over time or serve to delay a gift for life or other period of time while the donor or others retain income and/or access to the assets used to fund the gift. Because of the current or future charitable benefits, a number of state and/or federal income tax, capital gains, estate and gift benefits are associated with giving in this way.

If you intend to give to charities, and you believe that you may also want to, or need to, qualify for Medicaid, it is essential to contact an experienced elder law attorney in your area as Medicaid’s rules are complicated and always changing.

Make sure that you are also taking the time to review the titling of your assets, updating them as necessary, and reviewing the beneficiary designations on various accounts.

Additionally, it is also of the utmost importance to make sure that everyone on your team for your estate plan is aware of your plans and intentions, and are also aware of any changes you make to your plans.

It is important to discuss your options with a qualified attorney who can assist you.  We stand ready to answer any of your questions here at Dahlberg, Stanley & Foderetti, LLC.  Please contact our office for a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your plans and goals.

- Dennis B. Dahlberg, Esq.