The New York Times: “Sylvia Bloom worked in the same law firm in Brooklyn for 67 years as a legal secretary. She retired in 2016 at the ripe old age of 96 and passed away shortly afterwards. It was not until her niece and executrix, Jane Lockshin, was settling her account when Ms. Bloom’s big secret was revealed – she was a multi-millionaire. The secretary simply watched the investments the attorneys were making and made similar ones, albeit in smaller amounts. But they added up!”
FOX News: “The family of a Humbolt Broncos hockey player who was on a bus when it slammed into a semitrailer in western Canada– killing 15– said he was taken off life support and his organs will be donated, The Global News reported. Logan Boulet, 21, a defenseman, was put on life-support on Saturday and his family said his organs would be harvested and six matches have been found.”
National Law Review: “Planning on making a large gift to charity? Rather than making a gift outright, it might beneficial to consult an attorney and set up a charitable remainder trust, an instrument that allows you to donate to charity while still receiving income from the property, as well as providing tax breaks to the settlor and settlor’s heirs. These types of trusts can be a crucial element of an estate or financial plan, especially if you are considering making large charitable gifts.”
The Street: “Individuals looking for a simple and effective way to reduce their future taxable estate should consider the annual gift exclusion.
What is the annual gift exclusion and how does it work?
Every U.S. citizen is allowed to give anyone $13,000 (2012 level) a year without incurring either a gift tax liability or gift tax reporting. Married couples are allowed a further benefit which allows them to split their gifts. In essence, a married couple can give any individual up to $26,000 per year. Married couples who make split gifts do have a reporting requirement. They must file IRS Form 709 on which they report their split gift.
The humble annual gift exclusion can be an effective way to transfer wealth without using any of an individual’s lifetime gift exclusion or estate exemption (both currently $5.12 million in 2012).”
Summit Daily: “When it comes to charitable contributions, cash isn’t necessarily king. The familiar three-legged stool metaphor as applied to philanthropy planning might include: 1) How much shall we plan to give? 2) Which causes will we support? and 3) What kinds of property shall we use to fund our contributions?
Charitable contributions are typically funded with cash; especially for people engaged in so-called “check book” philanthropy, who make contributions as part of their annual giving budget. But more significant gifts can be made of virtually any kind of property, each of which may have advantages in the form of special tax or estate planning considerations. Gifts can be made of securities, personal property such as jewelry or artwork and, increasingly, of real estate.”
Financial Planning.com: When planners help clients manage their wealth, it is important to help them recognize the deep emotional sources of philanthropy. Hundreds of interviews over the years with philanthropists have led me to the notion of empathy and identifying with others as the key motives behind giving. Ask donors about an important gift and you will hear that the people they help are like themselves, their children, parents or other loved ones. We care for others as extensions of ourselves.
A day usually comes in your clients’ lives when acquiring more wealth ceases to be so important. They then face the question of how to live next and impart to their children a moral biography. Most will want to give because giving is a natural source of happiness.
People always tell us they “want to give back.” They speak about how they were helped in life and often remember teachers and others who formed them. We have all received gifts. People who give back recognize twists in their life stories as grace or luck. They notice unmerited, unearned and unpredictable interventions in their life.
The wealthy often worry about how a large inheritance will affect their kids. Our research found they’re giving larger percentages to charity, often through a family foundation or involving heirs in philanthropy. Some want to keep businesses or real estate in the family, but more of the wealthy feel the best use of their money is to give less to their kids and more to people who can benefit.
We all seek to shape the world, even if only our small part. We want to make a difference. We see ourselves as agents – thinking, feeling and acting in ways that move ourselves and our world from one situation to the next. The wealthy can make history, establishing or altering the conditions under which others work and live. I see the very wealthy as “hyper-agents” who can achieve changes that would otherwise require a social or political movement. Less wealthy people magnify their actions by forming giving circles or organizing big groups for charity.
Continue reading why people give to charity.
IRS.gov: Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years. Some of these changes include the following:
Special Charitable Contributions for Certain IRA Owners
This provision, currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2011, offers older owners of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) a different way to give to charity. An IRA owner, age 70½ or over, can directly transfer tax-free up to $100,000 per year to an eligible charity. This option, created in 2006, is available for distributions from IRAs, regardless of whether the owners itemize their deductions. Distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans, including SIMPLE IRAs and simplified employee pension (SEP) plans, are not eligible.
To qualify, the funds must be contributed directly by the IRA trustee to the eligible charity. Amounts so transferred are not taxable and no deduction is available for the transfer.
Not all charities are eligible. For example, donor-advised funds and supporting organizations are not eligible recipients.
Amounts transferred to a charity from an IRA are counted in determining whether the owner has met the IRA’s required minimum distribution. Where individuals have made nondeductible contributions to their traditional IRAs, a special rule treats transferred amounts as coming first from taxable funds, instead of proportionately from taxable and nontaxable funds, as would be the case with regular distributions. See Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), for more information on qualified charitable distributions.
Rules for Clothing and Household Items
To be deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.
The Local: Swedish industrialist and scholar Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), who made a substantial fortune from his invention of dynamite in 1866, established the Nobel Prizes in his will.
He died a year later in San Remo, Italy.
He had decreed the bulk of his estate should be invested in “safe securities,” and as a result, some 31.5 million Swedish kronor, the equivalent today of about 1.5 billion kronor ($222 million) were used to create the Nobel Foundation.