Charitable Giving

Philanthropic Planning and Charitable Giving

In his book, 'Beyond Death and Taxes,' our friend Greg Englund posits that people often have a very simple choice when doing their estate planning: whether to engage in Voluntary Philanthropy or Involuntary Philanthropy (meaning taxes). The choice is yours.

In our practice, we regularly raise the issue of planned charitable giving with our clients. We help them understand the financial impact of these choices both during lifetime and at death. Sometimes, the result is incorporation of one's favorite charity (or charities) in his life and estate plan.

There are a variety of ways to structure a charitable legacy. Lifetime gifts outright to one's favorite charity are one common way. Charitable trusts, such as a Charitable Lead Trust or a Charitable Remainder Trust are another. Charitable Trusts may be a way to 'split' your interest in an asset in a way that gives you more current income tax deductions; reduces or eliminates your capital gains tax burden; and provides lifetime income to you while ultimately benefiting a charity or cause of your choice. Other vehicles we often discussed with clients are Donor Advised Funds and Private Foundations that can provide current income tax deductions, which is particularly important in high wage earning years. Both of these vehicles can provide the donor(s) with more control over who the beneficiaries are over time – and – can provide a structure to pass along the control of grants to surviving partners, friends or family members who can decide how and when to spray out future grants. This list is long and the choices on how to structure these plans are vast. Ultimately, it depends heavily on your current financial (and tax) situation, what you expect your situation to be in the future, and, of course, your overall goals and objectives.

Our firm can help you decide which vehicles and instruments work best for you. Where appropriate, our firm connects clients with The Boston Foundation, an organization that provides donors with a range of services to support their giving programs. For more information on this and other programs offered visit The Boston Foundation is in the process of establishing a permanent fund to endow LGBT causes well into the future. To the extent one wishes to assist with legacy grants that will last for a long time, this can be a cost effective option. There are other terrific organizations who work with our community in this area including our friend, Tracy Gary and for the more wealthy donors, Tim Gill. Tim holds an annual conference 'Out Giving' where major donors share ideas and target causes for the most impactful giving. There are a variety of other resources, depending on your interests, that we would be happy to introduce you to based upon our work nationally, such as Advisors in Philanthropy.

Finally, keep in mind that planning in this area can easily be joined with retirement planning goals. We can work closely with your financial planner to help accomplish this.

Historically, our community has been strong in fundraising, particularly for urgent causes, such as HIV and Equal Marriage. We know, however, from our work on community boards that most LGBT organizations do not have any or any meaningful endowments. Considering a planned gift, even if just for a portion of one's estate plan, can make a meaningful difference by helping the community to begin to create its own endowment, so that the institutions we've come to know and respect can continue in perpetuity.

If we can help you with your Charitable Giving, please do not hesitate to contact us at (617) 716-0300 or

The premiere law firm of Squillace and Associates serves the gay and lesbian community in the Boston Massachusetts area including Allston, Brighton, Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, East Boston, Roxbury, South End, Dorchester, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, Mattapan, and Charlestown and all of the Boston Metro areas including Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Chelsea, Medford, Everett, Watertown; South Shore areas like Quincy, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, and Cape Cod: Metrowest areas like Lexington, Concord, Wayland; and North Shore areas like Melrose, Stoneham, Reading, Andover.

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