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Structured Charity Flexibility

6a017d3e6b2617970c0192ac81a397970d-320wi.jpgIt is indeed possible for a charitable gift annuity, a charitable remainder unitrust, a charitable remainder annuity trust, a life estate agreement or a pooled income fund to be converted into a current gift.

Timing can be everything when it comes to your charitable donations, both for you and for your charity of choice. Accordingly, you might want to build a little "flexibility" into your planning.

Have you considered expanding your generosity through a unique kind of charitable gift that is structured to actually "give back"? Examples include a charitable gift annuity, a charitable remainder trust, a charitable annuity trust, a pooled income fund or a life estate. As important as it is to understand these kinds of charitable gifts, there is good reason to know how and why they can be undone - and all for the sake of timing.

The subject of undoing structured gifts was illustrated by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, itself no small target for charitable gifts of all kinds, in an article titled "Current Planned Gifts I - Gift Annuities and Unitrusts."

The original article is a fairly handy guide, especially if you are already familiar with these powerful planning tools. However, the guide also gets a bit technical, too.

The main takeaway is that a structured gift is not necessarily a structure set in stone. In fact, there are ways to speed up a gift of the "remainder" interest in a structured gift. In a certain tongue-in-cheek way the article explains from the point of view of the charity:

... presidents and CEOs of charities generally prefer current gifts as opposed to planned gifts. All presidents and CEOs have many goals and projects that require current funding. Therefore, the gift planner will be very favorably received if he or she understands the different methods for converting a planned gift into a current gift.

Then again, there are just as many reasons to speed up a structured gift when you are the giver.

For instance, if you are receiving a current income stream that you no longer need later in life, then you can accelerate the gift of the remainder interest generating that income and accelerate the charitable deduction to the current year. This deduction may be helpful if you are taking Required Minimum Distributions from your IRA.

Timing is everything, and knowing what can be undone gives you that much more flexibility.

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