Reflections From the Giving Path


April 2016

If I recall my civics lesson in seventh grade correctly, it was the multi-talented colonist Benjamin Franklin who coined the phrase, “In life, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” And, as tax day just passed and I dutifully paid my taxes, I can prepare no argument to the contrary.

One passage in the tax code, the charitable deduction section, does provide tax savings for gifts to qualified charities. Factoring in tax savings in advance is sometimes just the encouragement we need to give a little more than planned.  Nowhere is this more beneficial than the charitable estate tax deduction, which provides significant tax savings for including one or more charities as beneficiaries in your estate.

In reflecting on several of the largest charitable estate gifts  in 2015, I was inspired by the variety of purposes funded: seniors, individuals with special needs, victims of child abuse, disaster relief, K-12 education, libraries, parks, museums, public radio, public television, medicine, healthcare, medical research, and support for the blind and visually impaired. The list goes on and on.

Certainly there is no shortage of needs in our community or in our world. What cause touches you deepest? Is reaching out to others a core mission in your life? Your estate plan reflects the values you hold dearest — it is an opportune time to provide for others who are less fortunate.

Perhaps accomplishing something charitable is on your bucket list. The tax code will give you a helping hand to reach your goal, especially if you choose to include a child named “charity” in your estate plan.

~ Tony Werner, President & CEO, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation