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Preserve Your Legacy

Estate Planning | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning



The charitable remainder trust is a really interesting tool in your estate planning attorney’s tool belt. It’s so cool that we thought you might find it interesting and want to incorporate it into your estate plan. Here are our thoughts on the charitable remainder trust itself as well as its tax benefits.

  • You set up a trust and donate low basis highly appreciated assets into the trust (yes, there must be some highly appreciated assets out there!)
  • Because a charity doesn’t pay income taxes, when the assets are sold, you do NOT pay any capital gains taxes (tax benefit #1.)
  • You name an IRS recognized charity as the beneficiary of the remainder interest so you receive a federal income tax deduction based upon the remainder interest (tax benefit #2.)
  • The assets you donate to the trust are out of your estate for federal estate tax purposes (tax benefit #3.)
  • Because the assets are out of your estate, there will be no probate fees associated with these assets.
  • You receive an income stream for your life (or the joint lives of you and your spouse) or for a period of years (i.e. 20 years.)
  • The income stream you receive is tiered so it is not straight income and has an overall lower income tax rate (tax benefit #4.)
  • Your charitable remainder trust planning benefits you, your family, and your favorite charity, and not the government.
  • You get to make a gift to a charity during your lifetime, not later.
  • Note that this type of trust is irrevocable, meaning that it cannot be changed or amended.
  • If you transfer real property or otherwise taxable property into the trust, you will no longer pay the taxes on the property (tax benefit #5.)
  • The transfer of the gift into the property is a gift to a charity and thereby does not incur gift tax or eat up any of your lifetime exemption (tax benefit #6.)
  • Because the property is no longer yours, it can’t be taken by creditors. Creditors can attempt to attach the income stream.
  • You become a philanthropist.

If you have any questions about the charitable remainder trust, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.