When you are putting your estate plan together and deciding who you want to get what, you may decide that you would like to leave a gift to one of your favorite charities. However, if you are leaving a gift other than money, you may want to check to see if the charity can accept your gift. What you see as a perfect fit may not be so perfect in the charity’s eyes.
For instance, your house. I had a client who wanted to leave her house to an organization that helped women in need. She saw it as a perfect fit. The charity helped women find housing and she had a house that no one in her family needed if she passed away. It seemed like a perfect match and the perfect gift.
However, each charity treats gifts of real estate differently. This particular charity would have been happy to receive the house but then would have sold it and used the proceeds for its programs. It turns out that they were in the process of putting together one centralized housing solution for their clients and houses located in other areas of the city didn’t fit into that plan.
Fortunately, a little research was done before the gift was just added to her estate plan and she realized that her vision for the house was not the same vision the charity had for her house. There was no doubt about the charity’s gratitude at potentially being included in her estate plan, however the difference in the visions for the use of her house made a big difference to the client and she chose another option for her house.
So, check before you gift to make sure you and the charity are on the same page and that the charity is able and/or willing to utilize your gift in the manner you desire.