I am often asked to explain various charitable tools. I do so reluctantly. Tools come last, after you have gotten to know the donor and what they want in life, for society, for themselves, family, and others. If you want to glance at the tools, and get a sense of what they do, that would be good. Just remember that explaining the tools and using them as part of an overall plan is the advisor's job. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, take up carpentry instead. Discussed or illustrated here are Charitable Remainder Trusts, Gift Annuities, Charitable Lead Trusts, Life Estate Reserved, and Foundations and their Alternatives.
Numbing? Yes! Intimidating? Yes? Daunting? Yes! That is why, I really think that charities and donors should put relationship and caritas way ahead of tools. Once you know what you want to accomplish from now until dusty death, and what legacy you want to leave for family and society, what kind of impact you want to have, then the tools will come into focus as means to those noble ends.
What you see here, friends, is the problem, the dysfunction, in miniature, the missed opportunity. If your own blood runs cold reading the technical stuff, so will other caring peoples'. Keep it focused on ends. Make friends in the advisor community. Forgive them for being so technical. Forgive them for these printouts, and the rest of the necessary tax rigmarole. Use the advisor to find the means to the ends. But, here among friends, let us try to keep the flame of love burning, because when that goes out, the rest is dust.