How to Donate to Charity in Your Trust or Will

Can I give to a charity in my estate plan?

Yes, it's straightforward to incorporate charitable giving into your Will or Trust with Trust & Will. To do so, simply identify the charity or charities you wish to support and specify the donation amount, either as a fixed dollar figure or a percentage of your total estate.

Read more in our Learn Center: How to Leave a Charitable Bequest to a Nonprofit

How are charitable gifts distributed?

Donations to charities are prioritized in your estate plan, ensuring they are allocated before the distribution of remaining assets to other beneficiaries. By listing your chosen charities in the Charity section of your plan, you specify the exact amount they will receive. This approach treats charitable donations separately from beneficiary designations, allowing for clear and organized distribution of your estate.

For example, if you plan to distribute your estate equally between two charities and three beneficiaries (like your children), you might allocate 20% of your estate to each charity. Following these allocations, the remainder of your estate, known as the "residuary estate," would be considered. This residuary estate is effectively treated as the "new 100%" to be equally divided among your beneficiaries, with each receiving approximately 33%. Consequently, the charities together receive 40% of your entire estate, leaving 60% to be evenly distributed among your three children. This approach ensures that each charity and each child receives an equal portion of 20%, or one-fifth, of your estate. Be aware you can only use whole numbers when allocating percentages.

What if I want to leave my entire estate to a charity?

If you intend to leave your entire estate to a charity, you have the option to designate the charity as either a Beneficiary or Backup Beneficiary instead of specifying a particular gift amount. This ensures that your entire estate benefits the charity or charities of your choice, aligning with your philanthropic goals.

Which charities can I support?

You have the flexibility to donate to any organization recognized as a 501(c)(3). 

Do I need the charity's EIN?

While Trust & Will's charity search function usually provides the EIN (Employer Identification Number) for each charity, it's possible your chosen charity may not appear in the search. In such cases, you can contact the charity directly to obtain their EIN, though it's not a requirement for making a donation through your estate plan.

How to Give to a Charity in Your Trust or Will

When you are first setting up your Trust & Will Estate Plan via the questionnaire:

  1. When creating your estate plan, or editing the 'Distributions' section, you will encounter the prompt Would you like to make a planned gift to a charity you are passionate about?", and click Yes to affirm
  2. Type the name of the charity in 'Charity Name' to search
  3. Select the correct charity from the dropdown list—the EIN is included in charities that populate this list
  4. If your charity of choice is not listed, type the full name of the charity then click outside the box to close the dropdown menu
  5. If needed, add the charity's EIN 
  6.  Choose % of Estate (percent of the entire estate) or Dollar Amount (a fixed dollar amount)
  7. Click +Add Charitable Donation to add another charity
  8. Click Save & Continue 

How Charitable Gifts Appear in Your Documents

Last Will and Testament (Will-Based Estate Plan)

Your gifts and their recipients will be listed in the 'Charity' section of your Last Will & Testament document, available in the Estate Plan section of your account.

Revocable Living Trust (Trust-Based Estate Plan)

Your gifts and their recipients will be listed in the Article 4A 'Gifts to Charity' section of your Revocable Living Trust document, available in the Estate Plan section of your account.

Trust & Will Charitable Giving 

We firmly believe in supporting charities, so we've made it easy to support one that you're passionate about! We also stand behind our commitment: Trust & Will has taken the pledge to commit 1% of our profits to causes our customers care about.

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