If you are writing your estate plan, you may be thinking about leaving cash or other assets to a charitable organization. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, you have more than 1.5 million from which to choose. Unfortunately, though, some charities simply do not deserve your generous gift.
Too many charities in the U.S. overspend on executive salaries, administrative costs and other expenses that do little to advance their missions. If you do not want to include this type of charity in your estate plan, you might wonder how to choose a worthy organization.
Consult a watchdog group
There are a few watchdog groups that keep close tabs on the activities of charitable groups, so it makes a great deal of sense to look up your charity on a watchdog’s website. In addition to giving ratings for each charity, watchdog groups often provide in-depth analyses of how charities spend their donations.
Ask the organization
You probably feel strongly about certain organizations and their missions. Still, many charities operate in more than one area. To avoid having your donation go to something you do not support or care little about, you can ask the organization how it intends to spend your money. You even may be able to earmark your gift for specific expenditures.
Talk to your lawyer
Estate planning attorneys tend to become familiar quickly with charitable organizations. If you are not sure which organization you want to include in your estate plan, it cannot hurt to discuss the matter with your lawyer.
Ultimately, though, with some due diligence, you can be certain your generous gift does the most possible good for the organization and its mission.