How COVID-19 Is Affecting Charitable Giving in Estate Plans

According to a Fidelity Charitable survey on philanthropic individuals, the COVID-19 crisis has inspired 25% of donors to increase their charitable contributions. This change has a strong generational component, with 46% of millennials stating that they will donate more, followed by 25% of Generation Xers and 14% of baby boomers. There are many reasons why the pandemic has inspired estate planners to make more charitable gifts.

What Your Estate Plan Should Include

Your estate plan should include your goals and wishes. For example, you might wish to pass on your beloved collection of knitting needles to your niece who knits. You may want to give your treasured military coat and honor badges to your grandson. Your estate plan should also include your objectives for charitable gifts. It is in your best interest and that of your heirs to include as much specific information as possible. If you want your local no-kill dog shelter to get half of your cash assets, you need to specify this. If you want to donate material goods or salable property to a charity for them to auction, you also need to specify this.

Good News for Charitable Organizations

More than 80% of donors are concerned about the ability of their favorite charity to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of that, they’re adding charitable giving into their estate planning. More than 58% of donors are focusing their gifts at the local or state level, keeping their gifts close to home.

Where Donors Are Putting Their Money

During the COVID-19 pandemic, donors are increasingly giving their money to organizations within their communities. This is important because charitable organizations have a much higher demand right now than they’ve ever had before. Food, clothing, utility and rent assistance are just a few of the things people need help with now.

What Donors Need to Feel Confident About Their Plans

Donors want to know that their gifts will be put to good use. In a survey of people going through the estate planning process, Fidelity Charitable found that about 35% of baby boomers felt like they didn’t have enough information about how organizations use charitable gifts. Only 27% of millennial generation members felt that way.

Changes Estate Planners Are Making

People who are planning their estates or making updates to their existing wills have been making some changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to the need for more social and health services in low-income and underserved communities. About one-quarter of those in the process of estate planning noted that they will include gifts to organizations that they have not supported in the past. They are doing this to provide financial support to the organizations that have stepped up to help individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why Everyone Should Have a Will

Even if you don’t have a lot of money or other assets, you should still have a will. This is also the case if you don’t have dependents or family members you want your assets to go to. If you want your remaining cash or assets to be given to charity upon your passing, you have to make this known through legal means. An estate planning lawyer can help you create a will and plan for making charitable gifts to the organizations you support now and want to support upon your passing. Donating to charity does more than just help the community. When properly incorporated into an estate plan, charitable donations generate some valuable tax breaks.

The Knee Law Firm offers estate planning services that fully comply with all New Jersey COVID-19 guidelines. If you need to make changes to your will or want to get started with estate planning that includes charitable contributions, we’re ready to help. To schedule a consultation with our Hackensack estate planning lawyer, call us at (201) 996-1200, or complete our online consultation request form.