How Can I Transfer My Assets to Charity When I Die?

Texans give generously to others during life and through their estates when they die. If you want to support charities as part of your estate plan, you have several options. The best choice will depend on several factors, like the type of asset that you wish to leave to the charity. One or more of the possible options will likely be a good fit for your wishes and circumstances. A Texas charitable planning attorney can help you determine the best way to accomplish the charitable giving you want to arrange.

Giving Real Estate to a Charity by a Life Estate Deed

Some people choose to sign a life estate deed to transfer real property to a charity. Let’s say that you want to donate your house to a charity after you pass on, but you need to live in the house until that time. If you sign a life estate deed, the charity will get some rights now, but you will have the right to live there until you die.

The downside of this means of transfer is that you cannot change your mind and revoke the deed without the written consent of the charity. If you need to sell the house to pay medical bills or nursing home expenses, you no longer have the legal right to do so.

Retirement Accounts

People often forget about their retirement accounts when doing their estate planning. You can name a charity as the beneficiary of your retirement account. People usually name a spouse or child as the beneficiary of a retirement account, but a single or widowed person might want to benefit a charity with the funds that remain in the retirement account at the person’s death.

Family Foundation

If you expect to have a substantial amount of assets that you would like to give to charity when you die and you want the charitable funding to continue over the long-term, a family foundation could be the answer. Typically, with a will, the assets you bequeath to charity are a one-time gift, but a family foundation can create a legacy of philanthropy.

The foundation can receive donations during and after your lifetime. You can fund the foundation with donations. Other people can donate, and you can set up fundraiser events to increase the assets. You can select the charities for the foundation to support and the people who will run the entity after your death.


You can arrange for your estate to create a trust when you die, using cash or other assets to fund the trust. The trust agreement you set up ahead of time will control which charities receive the funds and under what terms. Also, you get to select an individual, like a relative, or a professional, like a corporation, to serve as the trustee.

Direct Gifting To Charity

Another option is to give an item directly to the charity when you die. For example, you could leave your art collection or specific stocks to a charity. The charity will likely liquidate the asset to use the funds for its charitable purpose.

If set up correctly, charitable giving through your estate plan can accomplish great things and make the world a better place. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson for more information today. We can help you achieve your goals and avoid problems for your estate and beneficiaries, including charities.