Are you giving to charity after you die?
Many people would do so if they had confidence that there was someone who could carry out their wishes. In fact, I’ve seen it many times where a person was considering giving to charity but later backed out. Why?
For lots of reasons — perhaps they didn’t have confidence in the charity, or they believed that the charity would change their mission. In truth, all of these reasons can be solved with the right person administering the charitable gifts.
In the case of a person’s will or trust, that person would be the executor or the trustee. How do you make sure the executor or trustee follows through on your wishes? Give them specific instructions. Tell them the specific organizations they should support. If you are not sure about the specific organizations, then tell them the kinds of organizations they should support.
We’ve seen one family go so far as requiring a receiving organization to sign a statement of faith. If they don’t sign the statement of faith, they don’t get the gift.
In the case of a donor advised fund, the donor advised fund organization can serve in a similar role as trustee or executor. In other words, you can give the sponsoring organization the same kind of instructions that you would give a trustee or executor.
We often advise that a family leave their charitable gift to their donor advised fund instead of making their gift directly to a charity through their will or trust. The donor advised fund provides an added layer of protection. The sponsoring organization can investigate the ultimate charity before making the gift. On the other hand, if a gift is left directly to a charity, then by the terms of the will or trust, the gift must go. But if the gift is left to a donor advised fund with specifications to go to a charity, the sponsoring organization must still check out the charity to make sure that it is tax exempt and consistent with the charter of the sponsoring organization.
The point from these statements is that there are many ways a person can make a gift to charity and be assured that the gift will go to the right place. So don’t hold back—make that gift.