In previous columns I have tried to explain what the Carthage Community Foundation is and what it is trying to do. We continue to receive a great deal of support from many people in Carthage who would like to contribute to the perpetual endowment. In this and future columns I will, hopefully in understandable language, explain some fundamental charitable giving techniques. Each such option will illustrate a way to leave assets to charity, but will also helps the donors and their family.
In the days gone by farms and homes passed from one generation to the other. In small towns, as well as neighborhoods in large cities, the family members never strayed far from home. Generation after generation lived in the same place and in much the same way. That now lost innocence is in stark contrast to modern America with our transient lifestyle, the ubiquitous cell phone, and constant wanderlust. Many of us find all or most of our children have left town. Even those who stay have no particular desire to move back in the old family home. If the family members do not want the home, there may be a better way to recoup its value and help local charities in the process.
For example, consider a Carthage family with a residence worth $150,000. None of the living three children have any interest in moving there once Mom and Dad pass away. But what to do with the home? Mom (age 70) and Dad (age 75) can get a current (year 2001) income tax deduction of $58,800 as a charitable gift if they deed the home to the Carthage Community Foundation and at the same time retain the right to live there, rent free, for the rest of their lives. The tax savings, properly invested, may at the end of their lives grow, perhaps even to the value of the home. On the death of the last remaining spouse, the home will go to the Carthage Community Foundation where it would likely be sold and the funds placed in the permanent endowment. The gift could be for general charitable uses in the community or for such specific reason Mom and Dad or the kids direct. The plan is simple and inexpensive. You need one deed, a certified appraisal, and your accountant to figure the income tax deduction. The Foundation must first approve the gift of land to be sure it comes with no liabilities. One thing to remember: once the deed is filed, you cannot change your mind. It is set in concrete. You have the home for the rest of your life, but on death it passes to the charity. A number of local families have already used this technique and deeded their home on death to the Carthage Community Foundation. They are all pleased with the plan they made and with the knowledge that after their death many deserving people will benefit from their thoughtfulness.
December is a customary time for people to count their blessings, consider the holiday season, and get with their tax advisor for year end planning. If any of the board members of the Carthage Community Foundation can be of service to discuss this or other giving technique, feel free to call us at our offices or homes or at the Carthage Community Foundation Office, 417-359-5534.
This article was written by Kevin Checkett, a founder and director of the Carthage Community Foundation, and was originally published in The Carthage Press Newspaper.