There are several ways to leave money to a charity, some less complex than others.
To keep it simple you can simply name charities in your Will or Trust —with either specific amounts or percentages. If you choose specific charities, it is best to include their EINS to avoid confusion because their names often change.
If your goal is broader —local causes or the resulting ‘greater good’ more important than the actual entity —then set up your Trust allowing your trustee(s) the discretion to choose the charity(ies). If you decide to let the trustees choose the charities, leaving a clear record of your wishes is essential to help them decide.
Your gift can be cash, a specific property or asset or a share of your residuary estate.
There are more complex ways to accomplish charitable gifts including Foundations and Charitable Trusts but that’s for another post 🙂
As always, I recommend hiring an experienced estate planning attorney to review how to incorporate charitable contributions into your plan. An attorney will know the laws in your state and suggest how to do this based on your unique needs. Charitable donations need to be clear in your estate plan to avoid confusion and possibly have the names charity refuse the bequest.