How to leave a lasting legacy in San Miguel de Allende

Charitable giving brings a cycle of blessing that benefits recipients, and society. Since 1976, the San Miguel Community Foundation (SMCF) has been a conduit for a wide spectrum of charities, helping to forge a stronger bond between expats, the needy and the community.

The list of recipients is long, ranging from the indigent to such organizations as the Red Cross, the boys’ home at Mexiquito, Amigos de Animales, the SPA animal shelter, local schools, the IREE School for the Deaf and Hospice.

Just as the range of recipients is wide, one can donate in a number of ways. The simplest is to contribute to a permanent SMCF endowment pool that grows in perpetuity with only the income going to charitable projects. As an alternative, the donor may direct his or her donation to a specific charitable program or project.

Other ways to leave a lasting legacy with donations come in many forms: cash, homes and other real estate such as businesses, stocks, bonds, life insurance and bequests from wills. All can be activated while alive or at death.

For estate planning one can choose from a number of strategies. Using the incentives of the U.S. tax code, in some cases, the donor may pass along his or her net worth to the family, as well as a favorite charity, while at the same time maintaining a lifelong income stream for him- or herself.

SMCF provides complimentary advice on customized planning on strategies involving real estate that can be sold to avoid capital gains taxes, large retirement accounts that otherwise would be heavily income- and estate-taxed at death, appreciated securities and life insurance policies.

Many do not know that an existing life insurance policy no longer needed for its original purpose, or one in poor financial condition with continuing premiums that would be a financial burden, can be converted to make gifts to worthwhile causes with significant tax advantages to the donor.

Other options include charitable remainder trusts (CRT), charitable lead trusts (CLT) and charitable gift annuities (CGA).

The CRT gives the donor an income stream for life at significant tax benefits with SMCF inheriting what remains at death. A CLT provides specific payments to SMCF with the remainder paid to the donor or other beneficiaries. Under a CGA, the donor makes a contribution to SMCF which in return guarantees payment of a specific amount of annual income for life.

Additional information on these strategies is available from SMCF treasurer Doug Bruce. He can be contacted through SMCF’s bilingual administrator Araceli Cerritos, who handles day-to-day operations from an office at Prol. de Pila Seca 91-A, (415) 152-7447 or (415) 152-5327.