Interested in Charitable Giving? You May Want a Wealth Replacement Trust!

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Charitable giving is a way you can truly leave a legacy beyond our own family; However, believe it or not, few among what many would call the ‘mass affluent’ ever give much thought to charitable giving.  Often, they simply feel they don’t have enough money; however, many of these same people are often sitting on highly appreciated assets such as real estate.

What many fail to realize is there can be significant tax advantages in charitable giving.  When money is tied up in real estate and securities, having a tax-advantaged exit strategy can be helpful.

If you were to sell an appreciated asset, the gain would be subject to capital gains tax. By donating the appreciated asset to a charity, however, you can receive an income tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the asset and pay no capital gains tax on the increased value.

Example:   Alfred purchased $25,000 of publicly-traded stock several years ago. That stock is now worth $100,000. If he sells the stock, he must pay capital gains tax on the $75,000 gain.   But, Alfred can donate the stock to a qualified charity and, in turn, receive a $100,000 charitable income tax deduction.  When the charity then sells the stock, no capital gains tax is due on the appreciation.  How good is that?

But what happens to Alfred’s family who will be deprived of those assets that they might otherwise have received.

A popular solution:  Life Insurance.  Why is this popular?  How do you do it?  Read on…

In order to replace the value of the assets transferred to a charity, the donor establishes a second trust – an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) – and the trustee acquires life insurance on the donor’s life in an amount equal to the value of the charitable gift.

Premium payments can come from the charitable deduction income tax savings and any annual cash flow from a charitable trust or charitable gift annuity.  Alfred simply makes gifts to the irrevocable life insurance trust that are then used to pay the life insurance policy premiums.   At Alfred’s death, the life insurance proceeds generally pass to the donor’s heirs free of income tax and estate tax, replacing the value of the assets that were given to the charity.

Not a bad deal!

Life Insurance has a number of uses; but, before shopping, it pays to know what you’re actually shopping for!  To help understand life insurance design, you need to understand your priorities.  You might find this simple tool helpful.

What’s Your Focus Life Insurance Priorities Tool

If you would like help, of course, we can always visit by phone.


Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional and An Accredited Investment Fiduciary® serving private clients since 1991.   Jim is Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a  registered investment advisor with clients located across the U.S.. He is also licensed for insurance as an independent agent under California license 0C00742. The Independent Financial Group does not provide legal or tax advice and nothing contained herein should be construed as securities or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader. The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.