Efficiently giving to an individual

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ryansm1
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Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:28 pm

Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by ryansm1 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:46 am

I'm seeking advice on efficiently giving money to another individual with a terminal illness. I've searched around the forum but haven't come across any similar posts; this is my first post, though I wish it were under different circumstances.

A friend of mine (30s, married, no kids) is entering end-stage cancer treatment with the likely outcome being death in 6-12 months. Because of their age, retirement savings aren't substantial. While they are getting their affairs in order (downsizing homes, taking new jobs to increase time with one another), I would like to give them money so that continuing to work is less of an obligation to them and that they can use what time they have left do make memories and spend as much time together as possible.

Some of my other friends would like to contribute and have suggested something like GoFundMe, but the fees make it a less appealing option. One of my friends has offered the suggestion of "seeding" a fund for them and then helping maintain it as long as necessary after the seed funds are depleted. The amounts we are considering (per donating person/couple) are not going to trigger gift tax limits.

Assumptions:
  • Minimal retirement savings and minimal debt on the receiver
  • Financial affairs of givers are in order
  • Goal for giving is ~$10k per six months
Questions:
  • What can we do to legally minimize their and our tax burdens (and their tax preparation)?
  • Is simply writing them a check the most efficient way to give to them?
  • If a few of us were to effectively seed an account, are there preferable ways for them to hold the money while they spend it?
Any advice is appreciated.

Silk McCue
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Silk McCue » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:25 am

Welcome to Bogleheads. So very sorry to hear of your friends situation.

Writing checks according to a schedule and in the amount you and others desire is the most straight forward way to do this. Since these are gifts to them there are no tax implications nor is any reporting required on their part for taxes. Those giving having no tax consequences for giving nor reporting requirements unless they gave above $15,000 for each of the couple ( a total of $30,000 per year ). Even if they did their is no tax due, just an IRS form that reports the gift so that it can be counted against the lifetime giving total (limit is in the millions).

I'm glad that you and others are able an willing to help them at this difficult time.

Cheers

FireProof
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by FireProof » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 am

You can give up to 11.4 million tax free.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:55 am

FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 am
You can give up to 11.4 million tax free.
Not in every state in the US.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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dm200
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:11 am

Sad situation - but so nice that folks are willing to help.

Many aspects to this - but their paying taxes on such gifts is not an issue.

If any of you are close enough to give financial advice, one aspect to consider is their debt situation. Individual debts of a deceased person are not "inherited" - so the surviving spouse is not obligated to pay such debts - although assets in the estate of the deceased may have to pay.

It might be worthwhile for them to consult an experienced estate attorney for advice on this whole, sad situation. I would guess that there are things they should do and not do - which might not occur to them - but such an attorney could advise.

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dm200
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:14 am

Silk McCue wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:25 am
Welcome to Bogleheads. So very sorry to hear of your friends situation.
Writing checks according to a schedule and in the amount you and others desire is the most straight forward way to do this. Since these are gifts to them there are no tax implications nor is any reporting required on their part for taxes. Those giving having no tax consequences for giving nor reporting requirements unless they gave above $15,000 for each of the couple ( a total of $30,000 per year ). Even if they did their is no tax due, just an IRS form that reports the gift so that it can be counted against the lifetime giving total (limit is in the millions).
I'm glad that you and others are able an willing to help them at this difficult time.

Cheers
It might make sense for a bank or credit union account be set up such that those making such gifts can just deposit the funds into that account. Maybe one of you could collect such checks each month and make the deposits. That way they do not need to be concerned about taking the checks to the bank or credit union.

One thing to be clear about for all of those making such cash donations is that there is no tax deduction for such payments. This is often a "misunderstanding".

Depending on all the facts and circumstances, paying for some of their expenses directly might make sense. Or, perhaps, pay for things like housecleaning, or yard work, or transportation expenses, or some kinds of un-reimbursed medical care, etc. Helping the spouse in these difficult times could also be a priority.
Last edited by dm200 on Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

FireProof
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by FireProof » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:16 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:55 am
FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 am
You can give up to 11.4 million tax free.
Not in every state in the US.
OK, you can give up 11.4 million tax free in 49 states. In Connecticut, you can give up $3.6 million tax free.

smitcat
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:22 am

FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:16 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:55 am
FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 am
You can give up to 11.4 million tax free.
Not in every state in the US.
OK, you can give up 11.4 million tax free in 49 states. In Connecticut, you can give up $3.6 million tax free.
Not close to what we have seen....
https://taxfoundation.org/state-estate- ... -tax-2018/

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:44 am

OP, I’m sorry for taking this OT. Taxes are the least of the worries, but I didn’t want a factual error to go uncorrected.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

HomeStretch
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by HomeStretch » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:48 am

Your friends are lucky to have you and others to help.

When friends were in similar circumstances, we pitched in to arrange and pay for housecleaning and landscaping services as suggested by another poster. This was well received as the friends came home to find it done without any effort on their part.

ETA: the friends gave permission upfront and trusted week-known contractors provided the services.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dm200
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:01 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:48 am
Your friends are lucky to have you and others to help.

When friends were in similar circumstances, we pitched in to arrange and pay for housecleaning and landscaping services as suggested by another poster. This was well received as the friends came home to find it done without any effort on their part.
Yes - but all depends on the details.

Nice that your efforts were so well received.

delamer
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by delamer » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:35 am

dm200 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:14 am
Silk McCue wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:25 am
Welcome to Bogleheads. So very sorry to hear of your friends situation.
Writing checks according to a schedule and in the amount you and others desire is the most straight forward way to do this. Since these are gifts to them there are no tax implications nor is any reporting required on their part for taxes. Those giving having no tax consequences for giving nor reporting requirements unless they gave above $15,000 for each of the couple ( a total of $30,000 per year ). Even if they did their is no tax due, just an IRS form that reports the gift so that it can be counted against the lifetime giving total (limit is in the millions).
I'm glad that you and others are able an willing to help them at this difficult time.

Cheers
It might make sense for a bank or credit union account be set up such that those making such gifts can just deposit the funds into that account. Maybe one of you could collect such checks each month and make the deposits. That way they do not need to be concerned about taking the checks to the bank or credit union.

One thing to be clear about for all of those making such cash donations is that there is no tax deduction for such payments. This is often a "misunderstanding".

Depending on all the facts and circumstances, paying for some of their expenses directly might make sense. Or, perhaps, pay for things like housecleaning, or yard work, or transportation expenses, or some kinds of un-reimbursed medical care, etc. Helping the spouse in these difficult times could also be a priority.
My thoughts too, especially the idea of offering to pay for a specific expense.

Something like food delivery or housekeeping would reduce both their financial and time burdens.

howtohowto
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by howtohowto » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:00 am

ryansm1 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:46 am
I'm seeking advice on efficiently giving money to another individual with a terminal illness. I've searched around the forum but haven't come across any similar posts; this is my first post, though I wish it were under different circumstances.

A friend of mine (30s, married, no kids) is entering end-stage cancer treatment with the likely outcome being death in 6-12 months. Because of their age, retirement savings aren't substantial. While they are getting their affairs in order (downsizing homes, taking new jobs to increase time with one another), I would like to give them money so that continuing to work is less of an obligation to them and that they can use what time they have left do make memories and spend as much time together as possible.

Some of my other friends would like to contribute and have suggested something like GoFundMe, but the fees make it a less appealing option. One of my friends has offered the suggestion of "seeding" a fund for them and then helping maintain it as long as necessary after the seed funds are depleted. The amounts we are considering (per donating person/couple) are not going to trigger gift tax limits.

Assumptions:
  • Minimal retirement savings and minimal debt on the receiver
  • Financial affairs of givers are in order
  • Goal for giving is ~$10k per six months
Questions:
  • What can we do to legally minimize their and our tax burdens (and their tax preparation)?
  • Is simply writing them a check the most efficient way to give to them?
  • If a few of us were to effectively seed an account, are there preferable ways for them to hold the money while they spend it?
Any advice is appreciated.
You can pay for his medical bills directly (not through the person) and the amounts paid are exempted from gift tax.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by JGoneRiding » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:07 pm

howtohowto wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:00 am
ryansm1 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:46 am
I'm seeking advice on efficiently giving money to another individual with a terminal illness. I've searched around the forum but haven't come across any similar posts; this is my first post, though I wish it were under different circumstances.

A friend of mine (30s, married, no kids) is entering end-stage cancer treatment with the likely outcome being death in 6-12 months. Because of their age, retirement savings aren't substantial. While they are getting their affairs in order (downsizing homes, taking new jobs to increase time with one another), I would like to give them money so that continuing to work is less of an obligation to them and that they can use what time they have left do make memories and spend as much time together as possible.

Some of my other friends would like to contribute and have suggested something like GoFundMe, but the fees make it a less appealing option. One of my friends has offered the suggestion of "seeding" a fund for them and then helping maintain it as long as necessary after the seed funds are depleted. The amounts we are considering (per donating person/couple) are not going to trigger gift tax limits.

Assumptions:
  • Minimal retirement savings and minimal debt on the receiver
  • Financial affairs of givers are in order
  • Goal for giving is ~$10k per six months
Questions:
  • What can we do to legally minimize their and our tax burdens (and their tax preparation)?
  • Is simply writing them a check the most efficient way to give to them?
  • If a few of us were to effectively seed an account, are there preferable ways for them to hold the money while they spend it?
Any advice is appreciated.
You can pay for his medical bills directly (not through the person) and the amounts paid are exempted from gift tax.
Ianal. I would put paying medical Bill's low on the list of helpful things. 1) If the estate is insolvent that debt dies (a house would be transferred in kind doubtful he has real other money he can move most to the wife now)
2) medical is going to be well covered by insurance what isn't paid for and would owe would be hotel stays, food out etc

I second the advice to see an estate attorney. In this situation I would put all credit cards in dying partners name and move all bank accounts over to single name of other. Maybe it's wrong but it's legal. And she (assuming gender) is going to be hurt financially either way and is losing all his income going forward

FireProof
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by FireProof » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:28 pm

smitcat wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:22 am
FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:16 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:55 am
FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 am
You can give up to 11.4 million tax free.
Not in every state in the US.
OK, you can give up 11.4 million tax free in 49 states. In Connecticut, you can give up $3.6 million tax free.
Not close to what we have seen....
https://taxfoundation.org/state-estate- ... -tax-2018/
A gift tax is not the same as an estate/inheritance tax, although there are often rules to stop the use of gifts to avoid the inheritance tax. For example, New York has no gift tax, but if the donor dies within three years of making the gift, the gift will then be treated as a taxable inheritance.

smitcat
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:07 pm

FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:28 pm
smitcat wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:22 am
FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:16 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:55 am
FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 am
You can give up to 11.4 million tax free.
Not in every state in the US.
OK, you can give up 11.4 million tax free in 49 states. In Connecticut, you can give up $3.6 million tax free.
Not close to what we have seen....
https://taxfoundation.org/state-estate- ... -tax-2018/
A gift tax is not the same as an estate/inheritance tax, although there are often rules to stop the use of gifts to avoid the inheritance tax. For example, New York has no gift tax, but if the donor dies within three years of making the gift, the gift will then be treated as a taxable inheritance.
As you can see from the chart there are multiple states with both estate and inheritance taxes - gift taxes are also limited.
If there is confusion on your state consider consulting with an attorney - it is not as easy as it may sound to avoid any of these.

Topic Author
ryansm1
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by ryansm1 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:22 pm

Thanks for the welcome and warm sentiments everyone. I also appreciate the factual correctness of the side discussion; it will be helpful for the next person who may come across the thread in the future. :happy

After doing a little more research, it sounds as though consulting an estate attorney is the best move. I hadn't considered the debt angle when posting originally. The couple in question lives in Texas (community property state), so the matter of debt seems to be more nuanced than in some other states.

I appreciate some of the other suggestions and outside of simply giving them money. This is helpful for others who may not want/be in a position to simply give money.

Again, I really appreciate the feedback. Thank you!

Katietsu
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Katietsu » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:16 pm

I agree that giving directly is the way to eliminate all fees. However, there may be a circle of people who would donate if you set up a Facebook personal fundraiser or GoFundMe page that would otherwise not be involved. In a similar situation, we raised about $5000 in a week or so using FaceBook. I would guess more than half of those donations would not have happened otherwise. It was a way to inform an extended network of people of the situation in what seemed a natural way.

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whodidntante
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by whodidntante » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:21 pm

If you want to automate it, a Fidelity CMA account will allow you to send a recurring payment to someone if a check is the best method. There are also electronic methods like Zelle, Venmo, or Paypal but I don't know about automation for those. I suspect you can.

fyre4ce
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by fyre4ce » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:44 pm

Can any tax experts shed light on whether it would be possible to structure this as a tax-deductible charitable donation? The gift has the same spirit as charity. Is it possible to set up a 501c3 primarily for the benefit of an individual or their family? Would it be legal to, for instance, give the donations through the family's religious institution, with the understanding that they will be passed directly to the family? In addition to saving income tax it would also avoid any gift tax issues.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:25 pm

fyre4ce wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:44 pm
Can any tax experts shed light on whether it would be possible to structure this as a tax-deductible charitable donation? The gift has the same spirit as charity. Is it possible to set up a 501c3 primarily for the benefit of an individual or their family? Would it be legal to, for instance, give the donations through the family's religious institution, with the understanding that they will be passed directly to the family? In addition to saving income tax it would also avoid any gift tax issues.
From IRS Publication 526 (emphasis added):

Generally, you can deduct contributions of money or property you make to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. A contribution is "for the use of" a qualified organization when it is held in a legally enforceable trust for the qualified organization or in a similar legal arrangement.

The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.

brandy
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by brandy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:50 pm

The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.
Would it work to give it to the organization to use for a mid 30's cancer patient with young children of DR.___ at ___hospital.
That may still be too general, though. Or even too specific...

delamer
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by delamer » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:12 pm

brandy wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:50 pm
The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.
Would it work to give it to the organization to use for a mid 30's cancer patient with young children of DR.___ at ___hospital.
That may still be too general, though. Or even too specific...
You presumably are talking about claiming a charitable donation as a tax deduction.

But the OP didn’t raise that as a concern.

Silk McCue
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Silk McCue » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:23 am

delamer wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:12 pm
brandy wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:50 pm
The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.
Would it work to give it to the organization to use for a mid 30's cancer patient with young children of DR.___ at ___hospital.
That may still be too general, though. Or even too specific...
You presumably are talking about claiming a charitable donation as a tax deduction.

But the OP didn’t raise that as a concern.
But two responses above Brandy’s post did ask that question and thus their response.

Cheers

prairieman
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by prairieman » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:39 am

A little off topic, but if you were to transfer appreciated stocks to an individual does the basis get reset?

Silk McCue
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Silk McCue » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:04 am

prairieman wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:39 am
A little off topic, but if you were to transfer appreciated stocks to an individual does the basis get reset?
The basis doesn't get reset. The recipient pays taxes on the appreciated value once sold.

It's complicated but this answer is nice and concise for the various scenarios.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/33530 ... -as-a-gift

Cheers

eukonomos
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by eukonomos » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:29 pm

Silk McCue wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:04 am
prairieman wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:39 am
A little off topic, but if you were to transfer appreciated stocks to an individual does the basis get reset?
The basis doesn't get reset. The recipient pays taxes on the appreciated value once sold.

It's complicated but this answer is nice and concise for the various scenarios.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/33530 ... -as-a-gift

Cheers
If the appreciated stock were transferred to him*, subsequently inherited by her, wouldn't she get the step-up basis?

This would seem to be advantageous to the donor compared to giving the equivalent in cash. However, the idea would be not to sell the stock until inherited. This might be helpful for ongoing needs, but wouldn't address the near-term needs which the OP mentions:
ryansm1 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:46 am
I would like to give them money so that continuing to work is less of an obligation to them and that they can use what time they have left do make memories and spend as much time together as possible.
and would somewhat complicate her tax preparation
  • What can we do to legally minimize their and our tax burdens (and their tax preparation)?
(*making an assumption on him/her for purposes of discussion.)

Silk McCue
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Silk McCue » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:32 pm

^^
eukonomos wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:29 pm
Good points.

To be clear, all I did was answer prairieman’s question which I took as a side item since he called it off-topic.

Cheers

eukonomos
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by eukonomos » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:04 am

Silk McCue wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:32 pm
^^
eukonomos wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:29 pm
Good points.

To be clear, all I did was answer prairieman’s question which I took as a side item since he called it off-topic.

Cheers
Understood.
I should have phrased my question as "would she get the step-up basis?" - in other words, is there some minimum time for him to hold the stock in order for her to get the step up?

A little more research suggests there may be a 1 year requirement - see the last paragraph at http://rhowellsconsulting.com/inherited_property.htm - but I haven't looked further.

In any event, my earlier suggestion is probably not appropriate without further guidance.

Other suggestions were to pay directly for things such as housecleaning, transportation, etc. Perhaps the consultation with an estate attorney could be specifically covered.

brandy
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by brandy » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:11 am

delamer wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:12 pm
brandy wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:50 pm
The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.
Would it work to give it to the organization to use for a mid 30's cancer patient with young children of DR.___ at ___hospital.
That may still be too general, though. Or even too specific...
You presumably are talking about claiming a charitable donation as a tax deduction.
But the OP didn’t raise that as a concern.
If you are talking about ME claiming a charitable donation as a tax deduction, I don't, never have, don't need the receipt/acknowledgement. My donations are anonymous. As I said above, I contacted the entities who started sending acknowledgements in envelopes with THANK YOU on them, to tell them to STOP sending them to me.

MaxRN
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by MaxRN » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:31 am

I'm sorry for this family's troubles. Just checking, this is a couple you know personally and not just through social media? I have family that has been scammed out of thousands of dollars and continues to be.
Don't believe everything you believe.

Silk McCue
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by Silk McCue » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:40 am

MaxRN wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:31 am
I'm sorry for this family's troubles. Just checking, this is a couple you know personally and not just through social media? I have family that has been scammed out of thousands of dollars and continues to be.
From the original post.
A friend of mine (30s, married, no kids) is entering end-stage cancer treatment with the likely outcome being death in 6-12 months.
Definitely not a social media event here.

Cheers

delamer
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Re: Efficiently giving to an individual

Post by delamer » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:02 am

brandy wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:11 am
delamer wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:12 pm
brandy wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:50 pm
The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.
Would it work to give it to the organization to use for a mid 30's cancer patient with young children of DR.___ at ___hospital.
That may still be too general, though. Or even too specific...
You presumably are talking about claiming a charitable donation as a tax deduction.
But the OP didn’t raise that as a concern.
If you are talking about ME claiming a charitable donation as a tax deduction, I don't, never have, don't need the receipt/acknowledgement. My donations are anonymous. As I said above, I contacted the entities who started sending acknowledgements in envelopes with THANK YOU on them, to tell them to STOP sending them to me.
No, I wasn’t making the comment about your practices.

I didn’t know that another poster had raised the issue of charitable tax deductions, and was just noting that the OP hadn’t asked about ways to make their help deductible.

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