If you are developing an estate plan and want to make charitable giving a centerpiece of your efforts, you might want to consider creating a family foundation. While most people associate family foundations with wealthy people such as Bill Gates or John D. Rockefeller, people of more moderate means can still take advantage of these tools if they wish to make charitable donations an important element in their estate plans.
There is no single blueprint to creating a family foundation. If you want to create such a foundation, you will have to discuss your wishes and your options with your attorney. What kind of options? First, you can choose whether you want the foundation to accept donations from the public or to be solely funded by family money.
Second, you can decide whether you wish to remain in control of the foundation or allow the foundation to be run by, for example, a board of directors. You also have to consider what kind of charities you will want the foundation to support and how long you will want the foundation to last.
One of the great benefits of creating a family foundation is the ability to control and direct how foundation funds are used. For example, if you want to make a charitable donation to an organization, you don’t always have the option of being able to choose how you want that money spent. With the family foundation, on the other hand, you have the ability to create an organization that will use the money in accordance with strict criteria that you can create.