1. Charitable giving is philanthropic. Making a gift means giving up control over the asset you are giving away. There are tax advantages to making donations, but the bottom line is that giving allows you to support the organizations that are meaningful to you.
2. Charitable giving is flexible. It can vary in complexity and scope and intention. Charitable gifts can be made during one’s lifetime or at death. Making a gift can be a sporadic, spur-of-the-moment act, like rounding up your tab at the supermarket to support a nonprofit. It can also be part of your long-term planning, like choosing which years you give to charity and taking itemized deductions on your tax return. Gifting can be very simple – for example, making a monetary bequest in a will – and complicated – for example, establishing a donor-advised fund.
3. Charitable giving is of a piece with financial planning. The most important thing about financial planning is being organized. For example, good recordkeeping will help your personal representative to take advantage of the tax benefits of the gifts that are part of your estate plan.