It’s That Time of Year / York, PA

CharityIt is the giving time of year, and whether your gift is in another person's name to a charity, or as a donation directly to a charity, there are so many worthy options, including the SPCA.

Like many charities, the SPCA depends to a great extent on year-end giving in order to raise funds for its ongoing operations. The SPCA wants all of its animals to find homes during the holidays: the cost of caring for each animal is on average more than $350. It really adds up, given the thousands of animals the charity rescues every year.

The Reno Gazette-Journal explains that there are a wide variety of ways to give. The article, titled "Animal Files: End-of-year giving can be worthwhile," says that donations of cash can be made directly to qualified 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations. This typically creates a tax deduction for the donor. Calculating the amount of your donation at the end of the year allows you to maximize your potential deduction and make the most of it.

In addition, to cash, financial assets—like stocks, bonds, and art—can also be donated to your favorite charity. The original article notes that giving to donor advised funds can make for great charitable gifts over a long period with tax advantages. There are also charitable trusts and annuities. Speak with your estate planning attorney to explore these and other options you have to give.

The Gazette-Journal also reminds us that your time is also a generous gift during this time of the year. Help out at a charity with daily operations or join a committee. Some families even make a yearly tradition to volunteer at your favorite local charity.

Finally, the original article reminds us that many charitable organizations welcome your gently used items to resell and help defray the costs of their operations. Donating cars, furniture, clothing, or household goods can really make an impact and typically get you a tax benefit. Clear out some things that are no longer used to donate to your favorite charity.

Charitable giving will make you feel good, too. Talk to your estate planning attorney for other ideas and strategies.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference:  Reno Gazette-Journal (November 28, 2014) "Animal Files: End-of-year giving can be worthwhile"

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