California Estate Planning Attorney Kavesh Minor & Otis

America’s billionaires gave less in 2012 than in 2011, a new Chronicle tally shows.

Well in the wake of confetti and political rancor brought on by New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, respectively, the numbers are starting to come in on the state of charitable giving for 2012. Unfortunately, and according to a summary post by the Chronicle of Philanthropyentitled “America’s Wealthiest Donors Slow Their Giving,” 2012 was not a good year for charities or a big year for donors.

In fairness, 2012 will first and foremost go down as a year of great indecisiveness, whether it was the presidential election or the deal that brought us over the fiscal cliff. But political indecisiveness gives rise to a tricky environment for charitable intentions. That said, the largest gifts by American philanthropists totaled a whopping $5.1 billion, except when you account for the fact that Warren Buffet gave away $3 billion of that total. By comparison, the largest gifts by American philanthropists totaled $2.6 billion in 2011. Without Buffet’s gifts, the 2012 total would have been $2 billion, falling under 2011’s totals.

Now, this kind of assessment isn’t an entirely fair estimate of the direction of the charitable energies of all donors. In fact, the list only accounts for the top ten public donors, thereby ignoring the many small donors who you may recognize as those not being featured on the cover of Forbes. Nevertheless, it seems to be indicative of an overall mood.

So, if 2012 was all indecision and waiting, what can we expect in terms of philanthropy for 2013 now that we’ve got some answers and direction on the tax front?

What are your plans and what is important for you as a donor?

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Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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