The end of the year tends to be the most charitable of times, both for the sake of the holidays and for the sake of end-of-year tax moves. However, now that we have officially crossed the halfway point in the year (and then some) it is not too early to start planning your 2013 charitable planning.
To help prime the pump regarding your charitable giving goals, consider two recent articles courtesy of Forbes.
The first article is titled “Give Your Property To Charity…” and it deals with some real life (and largely football-based) examples. It basically makes the case for charitable giving largely to the exclusion of leaving an inheritance to your heirs. While that might be something of an extreme position for many, it is not without merit for others in Overland Park and elsewhere.
Regardless, whether you give a little each year to charity or are intending to give it all to charity upon your passing, there is good reason to do your due diligence.
Following on the heels of the first article, the second is appropriately titled “…But Make Sure It's A Charity” Fact: not all charities are alike in form, even if they are all good at heart. In reality, some charities can be less “charity” than advertised, either in terms of their correct legal "form" or in their bona fide charitable "substance."
If you give to larger national charities, then this likely is less of an issue. On the other hand, many smaller charities operate solely on the good will and donated time of their volunteers. Consequently, these “mom and pop” charities may not have been formed correctly or may operate in such a way as to threaten any possibility of tax-favorable treatment.
Then again, bigger charities cost money and many rely on professionals instead of volunteers. As a result, these professionals soak up a higher and higher percentage of overhead, and sometimes without demonstrable effect.
There have been some rather shocking stories over the years about the high living enjoyed by some of those responsible for leading household name charities, too!
In short, there are many factors to weigh when it comes to charitable giving. As these bookend Forbes articles illustrate, it is important to examine both your own charitable goals and the charities themselves before making gifts large or small.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
* This is a Russian proverb made famous during the Cold War by President Ronald Reagan.
Reference: Forbes (June 23, 2013) “Give Your Property To Charity…”
Forbes (July 5, 2013) “…But Make Sure It's A Charity”