Structured Gratitude

Given the historical events in old New England, there is some controversy around Thanksgiving here. We acknowledge the travesties of our forbears’ deeds, and make present day choices for actions that heal and align with our considered values.  This month we energize gratitude in several ways, and we invite you to invigorate yours: in ways simple and more complex.

First, let’s enjoy a simple pause right here and now to give gratitude to this moment and our lives. We are here. Take a moment to see and feel one aspect of your life where you feel good fortune. It doesn’t need to be grandiose. Being able to breathe and walk comes to my mind. Exercising our gratitude muscle gives us mojo to take it a bit further. In this pause, breathe deeper and smile.

This year, Colman Knight is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of our organization. We are commemorating in several ways, including planting a grove of trees in your honor.  When you arrive in our offices, a certificate of our action and words appreciating you will be on display. Life-giving actions reflect the essence of our work with you and in our view there is no better way to demonstrate life-giving than actually promoting life, in this case, in the form of reinvigorating a forest in need of care.

We are grateful for you!

Giving comes in many forms. Many of us practice annual giving in the form of our volunteer time, our creativity and, of course, money. Sometimes our financial giving is through pledges that repeat each year, or perhaps a one-time donation to a charity that speaks to us. Often we are called to give to organizations in memory of a lost loved one. It is a simple gesture to honor the life of someone we hold dear. Annual giving can be spontaneous and it can also be structured. We appreciate the flexibility enabled through both one-time donations, and intentional plans with structured accounts.

Many clients have felt deep gratitude for their good fortune and have established consistent giving plans as part of their integral wealth planning. For your benefit and consideration, we highlight a few of the most popular here.

Gifts of appreciated securities are a viable strategy as these gifts save the Donor both cash and recognition of capital gain.  The charity recognizes the tax gain but because charities are tax-exempt, they receive the full benefit of the value of the donation.  In addition to stocks, which is common, tangible assets such as cars, boats, houses and art collections are options to consider.

Charitable Trusts are another vehicle for structured giving and flexibility. These trusts are available through a mutual fund company with a Donor Advisor Fund, or by drafting a custom fund document.

Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT) is a common option from large charities.  You, the donor, receive an annuity for a fixed number of years or for life; your designated charity receives the remainder of principle in the trust at the end of the annuity payments. The longer the time period before the charity receives the gift, the smaller the tax deduction.

Charitable Remainder Unit Trust (CRUT) is another common option for larger charities.  A CRUT operates similar to the CRAT except the trust pays out a percentage of assets to the donor rather than a specific amount.

Charitable Lead Trust (CAT) is a third option for larger charities, which pays out a specific dollar amount to a charity for a given number of years. The remainder of the trust goes to either the Donor or a beneficiary chosen by the Donor.  Lead trusts have a gift element for the remainder, which is determined at the time the Trust begins to pay out to the charity.

As you reflect on this month’s news, if you are moved to consider establishing a more structured charitable plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further conversation to meet your aspirations.

Until next month, our final of the year, from all of us at Colman Knight to you, many, many thanks and good wishes to you and your family.

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