In Cambridge, Massachusetts, "charitable giving" involves transferring money or property to an individual or organization, expecting nothing directly in return.
In general, it's very easy to make a charitable donation to a cause you want to help. Whether it involves writing a huge check, or dropping spare change in a donation jar, a large majority of charitable gifts are made simply by giving money away, with no intermediary or other complex legal arrangements.
Some people want to give a larger percentage of their assets to a charitable organization than would be feasible during life, so they create some type of arrangement under which the money will be transferred upon the donor's death.
If you want to make a donation that's effective after your death, there are a few ways to do this. The most common method is also the simplest: leaving the charity whatever property you want to give to it in your will - this is known as a "testamentary gift."
Charitable Trusts in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Charitable trusts are arrangements that involve handing possession (but not necessarily ownership) of money or property over to a charity, either during the donor's life, or after their death.
Under a charitable trust, the money going to the charity technically still belongs to the donor. However, the charity, acting as a trustee, has authority to use it for charitable purposes (what the money can and can't be used for should be clearly laid out in the trust).
If a person decides to set up a charitable trust in Cambridge, Massachusetts, they usually set up a "charitable remainder trust," since this is usually beneficial to both the donor (or their estate) as well as the charity. The operation of this type of trust is fairly simple: at a set time (usually the donor's death) the property that the donor wants to give to the charity is handed over, and the charity invests it. The charity benefits by getting to keep most of the money that these investments generate. The donor benefits because they also get a percentage of this income, for a period of time laid out in the trust agreement. Afterwards, the recipient of the donation gets it free and clear.
Wanting to help a charitable cause is, of course, a good thing. However, some people seek to take advantage of our good intentions through fraudulent charities. If you want to help ensure that any money you donate to an organization is actually used for a charitable cause, and that your donation will be tax-deductible, you should check to see that the organization is actually tax-exempt. You can find this information from the IRS and/or the agency responsible for taxation in
Do I Need a Cambridge, Massachusetts Attorney?
Making a substantial charitable donation is a generous and admirable act. However, good intentions don't always lead to good results. To ensure that your donation has the most positive impact possible, you should discuss the matter in detail with representatives of the organization(s) you want to donate to. It might be helpful to have a Cambridge, Massachusetts lawyer handle these negotiations on your behalf, since they will likely understand the legal and financial complexities involved.