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Houston Charitable Planning

Respected Estate Planning Lawyers Serving Clients in Harris County and Throughout the Houston Metro Area

According to a recent estimate, six out of ten households in the United States donate money to charity at some point during the year. Most recently, Americans donated over $471 billion per year to various charities. As a general rule, Americans are not only generous during their lifetimes but also after death by arranging for charitable gifts through their last will and testament. While leaving money or assets to your favorite charity is certainly a noble thing to do, if done correctly, it can also have favorable tax implications. At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, our Houston estate planning lawyers work closely with our clients to effectuate their charitable planning goals. We recognize that, while your decision stems from kindness and compassion, you should also be able to benefit from the incentives the federal government provides to encourage generosity.

Would You Rather Donate to Charity or Pay More in Taxes?

It’s not a trick question. This is actually a position that many families find themselves in when sitting down with a Houston estate planning lawyer. However, to benefit from the tax incentives that come along with charitable giving, it is important that the gift is properly structured. At McCulloch & Miller, our charitable giving lawyers have decades of experience helping families implement generous and tax-reducing estate planning strategies. Properly implemented strategies can maximize the value of your gift while ensuring the best tax consequences for you, your family, or beneficiaries. Conversely, gifting that is not thought through or well planned can potentially cost you excess taxes or negatively impact your eligibility for public benefits.

Charitable Giving Options

Those who want to make gifts to their favorite charity have several options. For example, you can either make a gift during your lifetime or upon your death. Regardless of which approach you choose, there are many choices available to you.

Charitable Options Outright Gifting

One popular option when it comes to charitable giving is to make an outright gift, either of cash or other assets such as real estate. The benefits of outright gifting include simplicity and immediate gratification. Making an outright gift also provides tax incentives in that the gifted amount is not subject to tax, provided the annual gift is less than $15,000 for 2021 or $16,000 for 2022 and beyond. These limits are per recipient. There is also a $12.06 million lifetime exclusion.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity can give you an immediate income tax deduction. It can provide you with an immediate tax deduction for your entire gift while also providing you with a stream of income or an annuity throughout the rest of your life. This is especially beneficial for one-time gifts of highly appreciated assets.

Charitable Lead Trust

A charitable lead trust creates an income stream that goes to a named charity for a certain period of time. Once the time comes, the remainder of the trust will go to your children or other named beneficiaries. Your children will not face any estate or gift tax consequences. Charitable lead trusts work well for those who own significantly appreciated assets, as this type of trust can reduce the capital gains taxes.

These represent just a few of the most common charitable planning options. Anyone considering making gift—either during their life or upon their death—should consult with an experienced Houston estate planning attorney to ensure their wishes are properly carried out.

Contact McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, to Speak with a Charitable Planning Lawyer Today

If you would like to add to your legacy by leaving charitable gifts, contact McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation with one of our Houston estate planning lawyers. At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we will sit down with you to understand your goals, allowing as much time as needed. We are here to answer your questions and provide effective guidance so you can rest assured that your chosen path benefits your chosen charity, as well as your family. To learn more about the estate planning services we provide and to schedule a free consultation, give McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, a call at (713) 333-8900. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"In late February, 2020, I needed to file from out of state for successor Letters Testamentary in Harris County for my father's estate. The attorney I used, Ryan Cook, returned my call promptly, gave me the option of hourly or flat rate fee, explained what would be involved, then let his paralegal and other staff handle most of the contact with me. I worked with Crystal. She was very responsive and tech savvy. As the pandemic hit and communication everywhere was getting difficult and the probate court had limited access, these women continued to stay in touch and help me through the process, with us all working remotely. We were all experiencing a new way of being in the world and all three of them handled it with grace, humanity and efficiency." L.B.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend this law firm because of their caring and professional staff. Mr. David Miller and Crystal Collins have gone above and beyond to help our family get all our elderly parents legal paperwork up to date. We are extremely appreciative for all they have done for us." A.B.
★★★★★
"I engaged the services of McCulloch & Miller to assist me with the difficult task of navigating Medicaid eligibility requirements for a close family member. I found them to be knowledgeable and thorough. Working with Darby was a pleasure. She took the worry and aggravation of dealing with a government entity off my shoulders. I highly recommend McCulloch and Miller for eldercare issues." B.S.
★★★★★
"We needed assistance with a Medicaid application and McCulloch & Miller were extremely helpful and expedited the paperwork promptly. We also greatly appreciated the professionalism, and caring manner in which Darby handled our case. If you need assistance, we highly recommend this firm!" P.M.