In Erie County, Pennsylvania, "charitable giving" refers to the act of donating money or property, for selfless motives. It necessarily means that the donor does not plan on receiving any direct compensation for whatever they have given.
In life, charitable giving usually simply involves writing a check or handing cash over to the charitable organization of the donor's choice.
What if, on the other hand, a donor wishes to give everything they own (or a significant chunk of everything they own) to a charity? This is very generous, of course, but it's rarely possible during life, considering the expenses and obligations we all have. On the other hand, most people don't think they'll be needing their money after they die. Knowing this, many arrangements have been created allowing a person to have as much of their money as they want transferred to a charity of their choice after their death.
If you decide to make a sizable donation to a charity that will not actually occur until after your death, the easiest (and most normally-used) method is to simply leave the desired amount of money or property to the charitable organization in your will.
Charitable Trusts in Erie County, Pennsylvania
Legal arrangements known as "charitable trusts" are also used to give large amounts of money to charity. It can be used to make the gift immediately, or it can be set to take effect after the donor's death.
While the money, for a time at least, is still technically owned by the donor, it is possessed and controlled by the charity, which acts as a trustee. The trustee is then able to use the money for the charitable purposes which have been laid out in the agreement that first appointed the trust.
The most common kind of charitable trust in Erie County, Pennsylvania is a charitable remainder trust. This allows you to give as much money or property as you want to a charity. The money is then invested by the charity. The investments are usually fairly conservative, sacrificing large returns for security. The charity then returns a portion of these returns to the donor, or another person named by the donor, while keeping the rest. This lasts for a set period of time, at the end of which the charity gets full ownership of the original fund.
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 Erie County, Pennsylvania 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 an Erie County, Pennsylvania lawyer handle these negotiations on your behalf, since they will likely understand the legal and financial complexities involved.