Charitable Giving Guidelines
Planned giving, sometimes referred to as gift planning, may be defined as a method of supporting non-profit organization that enables donors to make larger gifts than they could make from their income. While some planned gifts provide a life-long income to the donor, others use estate and tax planning techniques to provide for charity in ways that maximize the gift and/or minimize its impact on the donor's estate.
Several choices must be made when planning a charitable gift. These choices involve:
• Amount of gift - specific or residual
• Type of gift - direct or contingent
• Beneficial use of gift - restricted or unrestricted
Each of these choices is outlined below with language that may be helpful to donor as donor or family members determine the charitable gift to further the mission of the Redwood City Library Foundation.
The examples given are intended to illustrate the various types of charitable gifts donors can make. Donors should consult an attorney to consider the application of this language to the individual circumstances as part of an overall estate plan.
Amount of Gift - Specific or Residual
Specific bequests are most common. Donor leaves a specific amount, such as "I bequeath to Redwood City Library Foundation, the amount of $10,000..." or a specific asset or perhaps a specific percentage of the estate, such as 5% - to charity.
The other option is to give the residuary of the estate to charity. A residual bequest is the remaining portion of your estate after all other expenses, taxes, and bequests have been made, such as "....the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, I give, devise and bequeath to (full name of the Foundation and address)..."
Type of Gift - Direct or Contingent
A direct charitable bequest will go directly to the charitable beneficiary. It is not dependent on another event to take place.
A contingent bequest is an alternate bequest. A contingent beneficiary is only entitled to the contingent bequest if one or more prior conditions are satisfied. A charitable organization may be named as the alternate or contingent beneficiary, such as "If John Doe predeceases me or disclaims any interest in (describe property), I give such property to the Redwood City Library Foundation."
Beneficiary's Use - Restricted, Unrestricted or Endowment Fund
An unrestricted bequest can be used wherever the need is greatest. This allows the Foundation to respond to changing needs as they arise and eliminates a possible problem when a gift is given to a specific program or service that no longer exists.
A restricted bequest provides a sum of money for a specific or designated project or program of the Foundation. The form of bequest usually is made in the broadest terms possible consistent with the donor’s interest. This guards against the possibility of the purpose of the gift becoming obsolete. For example,"...to be used for the benefit of the early literacy programs sponsored by the Redwood City Library Foundation”.
An endowment fund, sometimes referred to as a memorial fund, can be named to honor a donor or a family member one. This type of fund invests the gift and provides interest income to the charitable beneficiary of choice in perpetuity. A bequest made to the Redwood City Library Foundation to establish an endowment fund will support the work of the Foundation far into the future. An endowment fund can permit restricted or unrestricted use of the income by donor’s chosen beneficiary.
When donor is considering charitable giving, the services of a tax, legal, or financial advisor should be obtained outside of the Redwood City Library Foundation BOD.
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