Are you a Georgia resident pondering about the legacy you’ll leave behind when you’re no longer around? Of course, most people think about ensuring the financial stability of their family members or loved ones. But have you considered dedicating a portion of your legacy to a charitable cause that you cherish? In this piece, we’ll explore how you can incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan in Georgia, benefiting not only your chosen charity but also potentially offering substantial tax advantages.


Understanding Charitable Giving in Estate Planning

Charitable giving in estate planning is the process of bequeathing part of your estate to a charitable or non-profit organization of your choice upon your passing. This act of planned giving enables you to contribute to the causes close to your heart while possibly reducing your estate and income taxes.


Charitable Giving Mechanisms in Georgia

Georgia, like most states, offers multiple ways for residents to include charitable gifts in their estate plan:


Bequests in a Will or Living Trust

The most straightforward way to provide a gift to a charity in your estate plan is through a bequest in your will or living trust. In this method, you can designate a specific amount of money, a particular asset, or a percentage of your estate that you wish to donate to a charity.


Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is an irrevocable trust that can provide a source of income for you or your beneficiaries over a specific period. After this period concludes, the remaining assets are directed to the charity you’ve chosen. This approach is beneficial as it offers income during your lifetime or the life of your designated beneficiaries, followed by support for a charitable cause.


Charitable Lead Trusts

In contrast to a CRT, a charitable lead trust (CLT) gives income to a charity for a specified period. After this period ends, the remaining assets revert to your beneficiaries. This method can be especially beneficial if you anticipate that your estate may be subject to significant estate tax.


Donor-Advised Funds

A donor-advised fund (DAF) lets you make a charitable donation, get an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants from the fund over time. Georgia residents may use local community foundations, like the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, to establish a DAF.


Advantages of Charitable Giving in Estate Planning in Georgia

When you incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan, you aren’t just supporting a cause or organization that’s important to you. There are also significant potential tax benefits:


Federal Tax Deductions

Charitable bequests can be deducted from your gross estate, which could potentially result in significant federal estate tax savings.


Georgia Estate Tax

As of the time of writing, Georgia does not impose its own estate tax, meaning residents are not double-taxed on the federal and state level. However, with proper planning and charitable giving, Georgia residents can still reduce their taxable estate at the federal level.


Income Tax

If a trust is used, there can be potential income tax benefits as well. For instance, CRTs often provide donors with a partial income tax charitable deduction.



Charitable giving can be a rewarding aspect of estate planning that not only benefits your favorite charities but can also offer significant tax benefits. If you’re a Georgia resident contemplating including a charitable component in your estate plan, it’s advisable to consult with a local estate planning attorney like our team at Brian M Douglas & Associates to understand the potential benefits and implications fully. While this process may seem complex, with the right guidance, you can leave a lasting legacy that reflects your values and supports the causes you hold dear.