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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

Charitable Giving in Estate Plans

“I want my estate plan to provide for and protect my children first and foremost, but I am passionate about other causes as well.  How can I include a gift for a meaningful charity as part of my estate plan?”

Dear Reader,

Many of our estate plans include a charitable gift, and the good news is it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.  With solid planning, you can provide for your family and still support the causes you care about–because the needs of the community will still exist even after you are gone.

First, you can create a tiered system for distributing your assets.  You’ve worked hard to save for your retirement, which can last many years.  In the event that you die earlier than anticipated, you may have savings left over.  With an estate plan, you can specify at what point you want to begin your charitable giving.  Whether it’s more than $100,000 or $1,000,000, you have control over the percentage you delineate both to your heirs and to charity.

The Yampa Valley Community Foundation is an incredible tool and resource for our community.  You don’t need to establish a foundation; they manage, invest, and distribute the funds according to your wishes.  YVCF gives back 4-5% net on your initial donation every year.  That means that you are funding the community for a long time to come through the Foundation.

For those without descendants–or very few descendants–charitable giving can be a great alternative to Colorado’s plan.  Some of the greatest monetary contributions to this community have been made by people without heirs, and their generosity benefits the whole village rather than a select few.

Perhaps you’re concerned about how your heirs will perceive your donations, but with a Legacy Interview, you have the occasion to explain to your heirs, in your own words, why you have chosen to support certain causes.  One of the reasons we include Legacy Interviews as part of our Legacy Plans is to develop and support your overall vision for your assets and your life.

I hope this answers your question.  To ensure your legacy by giving back to the community, contact  To consider charitable giving as part of your estate plan, contact

To ask a question for our “Ask an Attorney” blog, submit an email to

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