For years, estate planners have recommended that retirement assets may be the most tax-effective asset in larger estates to distribute to charity. These assets are not only vulnerable to heavy taxation as part of an estate but also can be taxed again as income in respect to a decedent on the tax returns of heirs.
Until recent legislation, there was a disincentive for retirees to give IRAs to charity during their lifetimes because withdrawals from IRAs were subject to income tax—even those given to charity.
Tax law extension. Annually, retirement assets may become a preferred charitable gift for seniors. IRA distributions to charity can now again receive special tax advantages. Americans age 70½ and up can make tax-free IRA contributions to public charities such as your community foundation.