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Charitable planning is an excellent option for those who have a philanthropic desire and who want to enjoy the tax advantages that come with making charitable contributions. You can read more about the many options that are open to you with charitable planning here. Below are some tips and guidelines that you should keep in mind as you approach charitable planning with your attorney.

Going with an attorney who doesn’t put your interests first

It’s important to remember that you as the donor have the right to put your interests first in your charitable planning. A good charitable planner will work with you to determine your financial needs and goals—and will not recommend options purely out of a desire for personal financial gain. Look for an attorney who specializes in charitable planning, offering comprehensive and accurate advice tailored to your financial situation.

Having your charitable planner serve as trustee

It isn’t uncommon for a client to ask his or her charitable planner to serve as trustee for a charitable trust. This can be the good option if your charitable planner is an attorney, as an attorney is likely well versed in the language of trust documents and is trained in the duties imposed on the trustee as a fiduciary. Otherwise, however, it is typically not the best idea. For one, non-legal advisers are typically not as well versed in this aspect of charitable planning. And second, it can create a serious conflict of interest if the charitable planner benefits in any way through a transaction with a charitable entity.

Donating inappropriate assets

Gifts can be made in the form of other assets such as artwork or property, and your charitable planner must be well versed in the tax rules covering charitable deductions for various assets. These tax rules can be highly complex, so an experienced attorney who specializes in charitable planning should be able to advise you on which types of assets to give with caution and which types of assets to avoid giving completely.

This truly does only scratch the surface in the complex realm of charitable planning. If you would like to make charitable planning a part of your comprehensive estate plan, it’s highly important to meet with an experienced attorney who will assess your financial situation and put your interests first when offering charitable planning advice.