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When Is the Best Time to Give?

Not all gifts are created equal when it comes to timing. Many can be established at any time in your life for good effect. But with certain gift types, the most advantageous tax benefits will result from making the gift either before or after retirement. Here's a rundown on the basic strategies.

Type of Gift
How It Works
The Best Time to Set Up This Gift—Before Retirement? After? Or Anytime?
Cash Write a check or charge a credit card. Anytime. When you itemize, you can always take a charitable deduction.
Securities Give appreciated assets that you've owned for more than one year, receive an income tax deduction and eliminate capital gains tax. Anytime. (Whenever long-term capital gains taxes are an issue.)
Bequest Leave a specific amount or a percentage of your estate to us through your will or living trust. Anytime. You can change or revoke the gift as life circumstances change.
Retirement plan (given to us after your lifetime) Name us as primary or contingent beneficiary of part or all of your retirement plan. Anytime. You can revoke or change your gift throughout your lifetime.
Charitable remainder trust Establish your trust with cash, securities or other assets, and then receive income for life from the trust with the balance thereafter going to support University of Minnesota. Before. This gift can provide you with extra retirement income.
Charitable lead trust Fund a trust that provides payments to us for a term of years and then pays the balance to your selected loved ones. After. When you are retired, you will likely have a better handle on the size of your estate and may be able to temporarily forgo access to an asset.

Timing Is Everything

For detailed calculations of when, what and how to give for greatest tax benefit and other needs based on your age and income, please contact the University of Minnesota Foundation at 612-624-3333 or 800-775-2187 or

Copyright © The Stelter Company, All rights reserved.

The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.

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