If you have fairly illiquid and highly appreciable assets, with a need to generate income and avoid capital gains, this is the vehicle for you. A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is a trust vehicle to which a donor can transfer assets while retaining the right to receive income for life for a term of years. (A CRT can also be established as part of a donor's estate plan and provide an income stream for survivor beneficiaries.) Unlike the other life income plans, the charitable trust is a private account for each donor. The donor may also choose the form of payment (fixed or fluctuating), the rate of payment (generally between 5% and 8%), the payment schedule (quarterly, monthly, etc.) and other features as well. And, unlike the other plans, the trust allows for more than one charity to be included as remaindermen after the death of the income beneficiaries or at the end of the trust term. The Charitable Remainder Trust has many compelling features:
√ You may transfer a variety of assets to fund a CRT. Cash and appreciated securities work well; also, a CRT is especially suitable for non-liquid assets such as real estate or closely-held stock.
√ Ordinarily, the sale of an appreciated long-term asset would produce a capital gains tax of up to 20%. Due to the tax-exempt nature of a CRT, appreciated property transferred to and subsequently sold by the trust incurs no immediate capital gains tax.
√ The creation of a CRT entitles you to an income tax charitable deduction in the year of the transfer. The deduction is based on several factors, including the type of trust, payment frequency, age and number of beneficiaries, pay out rate stated in the trust, and a floating IRS discount rate.
√ The property placed in a CRT will be removed from your estate and consequently will not be subject to gift or estate taxes.
√ For a CRT funded with long-term assets, the charitable income tax deduction may be claimed up to 30% of adjusted income in the year of the gift, with a 5-year period to carry forward and use any excess over the 30% ceiling.
Although The Williams School can provide guidance throughout the process of creating a charitable remainder trust, the donor must have his or her own attorney to review the documents. Our attorneys can draft a sample trust document for review by the donor's own advisors. A donor has several options for the ongoing management of a charitable remainder trust. The donor may select a bank or trust company, a trusted advisor or financial professional, or, in many cases, the donor can be his own trustee. The person or organization named as trustee will charge fees to the trust account. Fee schedules for trust management varies widely, but there are many options. In short, a charitable remainder trust offers benefits similar to the other programs, but is especially appropriate for donors who wish to create a life income plan that suits their individual needs.