What Types of Charitable Trusts Can I Use in My Estate Plan?

Web Admin - Friday, May 31, 2019
Kenilworth charitable trusts attorneyA trust is a legal agreement created by the owner of assets or property that designates an individual (a trustee) to manage the assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries named in the trust. Assets can be distributed either during the life of the person who creates the trust (known as the grantor) or after their death. In many cases, a grantor chooses to pass their assets to relatives or close friends; however, some may also wish to support a cause they believe in by naming a charity as a beneficiary. In these cases, charitable trusts can be used, and they typically fall into one of two categories: charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts.

Charitable Lead Trusts

This type of charitable trust has a time limit tied to the funding that is provided to one or more charities. Once the time period ends, the rest of the assets are given to non-charitable beneficiaries. The process begins with an initial donation to fund the trust. Charitable lead trusts do not require a minimum or maximum charitable payment amount, and a grantor may prefer to make a cash contribution to be eligible for immediate tax deductions. The payments will then be sent to at least one charity of the grantor’s choosing. This must be done at least once a year for a specific number of years or for the remainder of the lifespan of the grantor. Once the trust’s term has ended, the rest of the funds are given to the beneficiaries chosen by the grantor.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Many will choose charitable remainder trusts because they can provide regular income for the grantor or their beneficiaries in addition to donating assets to charity. This type of trust is almost the exact opposite of a lead trust, with assets being distributed to beneficiaries during the term of the trust, and any remaining assets being donated to charity after the grantor’s death. 

The first step in creating a charitable remainder trust is making a partially tax-deductible donation. This can include cash, stocks, real estate, or private business interests. During the term of the trust or the remainder of the grantor’s life, assets held in the trust may be distributed to beneficiaries, such as the grantor’s loved ones or even the grantor themselves. Beneficiaries can receive income only once per year or as frequently as every month. After the grantor’s death, the selected charity or charities will receive the remainder of the assets. 

Contact an Arlington Heights Charitable Trusts Lawyer

Estate planning is an extremely complicated process that requires extensive attention to detail. While charitable trusts can provide a number of benefits, it is important to ensure that the correct steps are followed when creating this type of trust. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we can help you determine which trusts will be best for you and your beneficiaries. Contact a Long Grove estate planning attorney at 847-934-6000 for a free consultation.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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