Billionaire MacKenzie Scott, the world’s 18th-richest person, made headlines in December 2020 when she reported she’d donated more than $4 billion to charitable organizations in the last four months of the year – after announcing her intention to donate $1.7 billion in July. As the primary source of her income, Amazon.com Inc. stock surged in 2020, her bottom line reportedly grew by $23.6 billion during the year to reach $60.7 billion.
Rather than hoard her increased wealth, Scott made it her mission to find ways to improve the lives of struggling Americans by donating assets to working charities. In fact, in 2019, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, in which she promised to give away most of her wealth, taking a thoughtful and deliberate approach to doing so.
Ultimately, Scott’s advisory team identified 384 charitable organizations as gift recipients after evaluating nearly 6,500 non-profits. Recipients were primarily organizations operating in communities that faced high poverty rates, increased food insecurity, racial inequality, and low access to philanthropic capital. These included more than 40 food banks and dozens of Goodwill affiliates across the country. In addition, more than 30 colleges benefited from Scott’s gift, including historically Black institutions and tribal colleges.
Whether you want to benefit charitable organizations during your lifetime, as MacKenzie Scott is doing, or you want to leave some of your legacy to charitable organizations when you die, there are myriad ways to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan.
Gifting strategies can be designed to help you leverage income, gift, and estate tax exclusions for accumulated wealth. You can also use charitable gift Trusts to create charitable legacies that are funded with life insurance or annuities. Some people also establish private foundations or donor-advised funds to involve future generations in lifetime gifting.
Whatever your charitable interests or intentions, your estate planning attorney can help you create and implement strategies to bring them to fruition. Contact us to learn more today!