Recently Warren Buffett and Bill Gates decided to begin a philanthropic campaign called the Giving Pledge Campaign. Buffet and Gates have each pledged to give half of their wealth to charity and have contacted a number of other billionaires world wide to make a similar pledge.
It is reported that there are approximately 403 billionaires in the United States. At www.givingpledge.org you can see which billionaires have pledged. In San Diego, Irwin and Joan Jacobs have pledged. Other notable billionaries who have agreed to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations are George Lucas (moviemaker), T. Boone Pickens (energy mogul), Barron Hilton (Hilton Hotels), Ted Turner (TV), and Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle). It is unknown how many billionaires there are world wide but India has the second largest number after the U.S.
You may not be a billionaire who can pledge half your wealth to charity, but many people with normal size estates make charitable donations to their favorite charities. Individuals who not have children or grandchildren frequently leave sizeable donations to charity. If you have considerable wealth, even if not in the millions or billions, you could pledge to leave half of it to charity. There are a number of ways you can do this in your estate plan. You can provide for a certain dollar amount to go to charity. You can provide that a certain percentage of your estate goes to a charity or charities. You can also create a charitable remainder trust, a charitable lead trust or leave an IRA or other asset to charity. Read about these different ways to implement charitable giving on our website and contact us if you want to incorporate these ideas in your estate plan.