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IRA or Similar Retirement Accounts generally allow for beneficiaries to be designated who can then receive the account assets at the time of the donor’s death without going through probate. Most banks and financial services firms have beneficiary forms for this purpose.  The beneficiaries can be one or more charities according to the donor’s listing of the percentage for each.  Alternatively, the donor can specify one or more charities as contingent beneficiaries if the primary beneficiary disclaims acceptance of the account.


Designating a charity as a beneficiary usually allows the donor’s estate to claim a charitable contribution deduction. Making a transfer during the donor’s life of an IRA or retirement account may allow the donor to take a charitable income tax deduction. Donors who must take a required minimum distribution (“RMD”) in any given year, can make the distribution directly to the charity—no tax deduction is allowed but the donor also does not have to pay income tax on the distribution as would be the ordinary case if electing to receive and keep the distribution.

Where It Works
  • Donor doesn’t need minimum IRA distribution

  • Donor wants to reduce adjusted gross income

  • Donor desires to benefit the charity in the present

  • Donor receives philanthropic recognition

IRA’s, RMD Transfers and Retirement Accounts

Gifting through IRS beneficiary designations, making RMD transfers and Retirement Accounts

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