These can be powerful tools for endowing a charitable legacy to home for life while avoiding heavy estate and income taxes.

Many individuals have accumulated substantial sums in tax-deferred retirement accounts, which include profit-sharing plans, IRAs 401(k)s and 403(b)s. These accounts are popular because the contributions are made with pretax dollars in the assets in the account grow tax-deferred. However, funds withdrawn from these accounts are usually taxed at both high income and estate tax rates.

It is possible that at death, less than 30% in a retirement account will reach non-spouse beneficiaries. Therefore, individuals planning to make charitable gifts at death should consider using retirement accounts to fulfill their wishes. By giving retirement accounts assets to home for life, donors avoid substantial taxes that would otherwise be due. Other less heavily taxed assets are then available to fulfill bequests to loved ones.