Gifts of Real Estate
Goal: Avoid capital gains tax on the
sale of a home or other real estate
Eileen and her husband, Paul, enjoyed their house. They had raised their three children there and had many family memories. But after Paul passed away suddenly, Eileen began to find that the old house was a burden. Without Paul to take care of things and with their children involved in their own families miles away, it seemed that the house was too big, too old and even a bit lonely.
Eileen: "Paul always said that I was the solid one. If there was a decision to be made I could get to the bottom line pretty quickly. Well, the bottom line was that I needed to make a change for a number of reasons. I decided to move into a smaller place in town, easier to take care of and one that was part of a neighborhood where I could make some new friends and be a part of activities and things. And where my grandchildren could still come and visit."
"Paul and I had talked about what to do when we got to this stage in our lives. I just thought Paul would be here with me, but that wasn't to be. We had planned and knew I would have enough money to live comfortably. Initially we thought I'd need the money from the sale of the house, but I really don't."
"My advisor went over the numbers with me. If we sold it, there would be a large capital gain and taxes to pay. But by putting the house in a trust that then sells it, I avoided having to recognize the taxable capital gain. The trust takes all the money from the sale of the house and invests it, and I get the income from the trust for life. Then, an organization that is doing great things will receive the remainder of the trust."
Depending on the circumstances that are involved, gifts of real estate can be an effective means of planning a gift. Much of the individual wealth in America is invested in real estate. While the first thought often is a home or farm, real estate also can involve a vacation or second home, an apartment or commercial building, a shopping center, or undeveloped land. Gifts of real estate often can be divided so part of the sale proceeds would go into a charitable remainder trust and part would provide immediate cash for the donor.
Often our real estate holdings, be it our house, a second home or investment property, are a significant part of our net worth. Gifts of real estate, therefore, can enable us to make significant contributions. Each piece of property and its unique circumstances need to be reviewed to determine the suitability of the property as a gift. Generally speaking, a rule of thumb is that an acceptable piece of property is one that can be readily sold.
Also, there are many ways to donate property. It can be an outright gift, a retained life estate, or placed in a trust (such as what Eileen and her advisor set up). A bargain sale may be used to provide funds to the donor using a part sale, part gift. In any case, while we discuss some generalities here about donating real estate, if you are considering such a gift to Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music, please contact us to discuss its suitability.
In addition to making a significant contribution, there can be other benefits for you:
There can be significant advantages to using real property to fund a charitable gift. Please contact us to discuss your unique circumstances.
For more information or a confidential discussion of your charitable options, please email or call the Development Director, Susan Lefkowich, at 510 644-2020 ext. 114.