Here in West Michigan we are blessed with a lot of charitable families and individuals.  They give their time, energy, and yes, finances to help benefit area and national charities.  One of the terms that you’ve probably seen if you’ve talked or worked with a charity is “planned giving.”  As common as the term may be, it seems like very few are really aware of what it is or they have the misconception that you must be “rick” to make a planned gift.

Put simply, planned giving is a method of supporting non-profits and charities that enables philanthropic individuals or donors to make larger gifts than they could make from their income.  So, a planned gift really is any major gift, made in lifetime or at death as part of a donor’s overall financial and/or estate planning.  Seems simple, right?  Well, for the most part it is.

As simple as the concept may be, the challenging (and fun) part is the donor working with the charity and the donor’s other advisors (estate planning and charitable planning attorney, CPA, and financial advisor) to determine the best structure for the planned gift.  And by “best structure,” I’m referring to the structure that best accomplishes the donor’s goals while maximizing the benefit to the charity.

You can see some of the many options by reading my earlier blog post on non-cash gifts to charity.  Make sure to give us a call to help walk through planned giving with your favorite charity (or cause).

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and charitable planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for “stuff” – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate, charitable, and asset protection planning for all generations (“young” and “experienced”), the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses, and pet planning.  He enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients centered on their families values, insights, stories and experiences.