In Utah, charitable giving is a large part of the state’s culture.  According to a study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Utah ranks number one in the nation in terms of the amount of discretionary income that the average household gives to charity.  The average household in Utah gives 10.6% percent of their discretionary income to charitable causes. In 2008, Utah residents gave $2.4 billion to charity, with the average household giving $5,255.  Salt Lake City has the highest amount of discretionary income given to charity per average household in the nation.  The study reveals that states where charitable giving is high is typically in states where religion plays a major role.  This would largely explain why Utah is the most charitable state in the nation.  But regardless of one’s religious affiliation, Utah promotes a culture of industriousness, community, and helping those in need.  Utah residents, whether religious or non-religious, see charitable giving as an important way of life.  That is why charitable giving is such an important part of estate planning for many Utahns.

Besides the benefits others will receive from your charitable gift, there are many tax and income benefits charitable giving can have on your estate. In fact, the tax savings achieved through charitable giving can net you more money in pocket than by simply selling your property and paying taxes to the government. Imagine that: leaving a legacy to a charity and coming out financially ahead. This is why carefully planned charitable giving is so powerful for many people.  For example, one charitable gifting strategy that one can utilize in estate planning is a Charitable Remainder Trust. This type of trust is an irrevocable trust that you fund and obtain income from for a set period of time after which the remaining balance is gifted to a charity of your choice. This option gives you an income stream and multiple tax benefits for you and your beneficiaries.  If charitable giving seems like a something you would like to include as part of your estate plan, contact a qualified estate planning attorney.

For additional reading:

Chronicle of Philanthropy study

NPR Article

The Advantage of Charitable Giving in Estate Planning

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