A Charitable Lead Trust helps you build a charitable fund with your community foundation during the trust’s term. When the trust terminates, the remaining assets are transferred to you or your heirs, often with significant transfer-tax savings.
You transfer assets into a trust, which pays the community foundation an annual amount to build a charitable fund. During its term, the trust can be managed expertly by experienced trust professionals, which may help your trust investments grow over time. When the trust terminates, either upon your death or after a specified number of years, its final assets are transferred to those you designate; any growth in the trust passes to recipients, often with significant transfer-tax savings.
A Charitable Lead Trust entitles you to a number of financial benefits. It shelters investment earnings from tax, and it offers gift, estate, and generation-skipping tax benefits. For example, trust assets are removed from your estate for estate tax purposes. You may also capture future gift tax deductions. However, at the time your trust is established, you may owe gift tax on the present value of your gift to the final beneficiary.
You have several options when establishing your trust. You can create a Charitable Lead Trust during your life or through your will. The trust contributes to charity through your community foundation — either for a number of years or for your lifetime. And, you select one of two types of Charitable Lead Trusts. A Charitable Lead Unitrust makes annual distributions of a fixed percentage of the trust assets to the charitable fund you establish. If you create a Charitable Lead Annuity Trust, the charitable fund you establish will receive a fixed dollar amount each year.
Giving & Investing